What does it take to be a strong business leader? As our workplaces become more technologically complex, there has been a corresponding rise in the value of the business leader who is able to take an overview and coordinate the increasingly sophisticated activities of their company.
Being a strong business leader takes a lot of practice and dedication. Many parents are opting to try to give their children a head start by putting them in an environment that encourages resilience and leadership, by sending them to an Singapore American School or one of the many other popular overseas schools. It is hard to pin down the precise skills that make a strong business leader, but here are some essential characteristics of such individuals.
Confidence is important, but as Socrates taught us, one of the keys to wisdom is in knowing what it is that you do not know. Too many aspiring business leaders mistake false confidence for strength and so attempt to cover up their weaknesses. There is a misconception in some quarters that strong leaders have to be iron-willed and invulnerable. In fact, the strongest leaders are those who are fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses and who work on improving the latter while not leaning too heavily on the former.
To be an effective leader, you have to make good decisions and make them quickly. One of the keys to developing this skill is to remember that, in business, not making a decision is a kind of decision in itself, and one that can often have dire consequences. In fact, avoiding taking tough decisions can be just as harmful as making the wrong decision. Strong business leaders prefer to be decisive and to back their decision.
Good leadership involves treating others fairly. Leaders who play favorites or who make subjective decisions about others end up as tyrants, leading dysfunctional businesses. Since no leader can know the full circumstances of every individual or issue that they deal with in their working life, the key to fairness is in setting up and promoting solid and objective procedures to ensure that all members of the business are treated equally.
Being a leader means being able to persuade people to follow you, and if you don’t have enthusiasm, this is going to be difficult. No one will want to work for somebody who isn’t leading by example with their attitude. If you want your employees to put their whole being into their job, then you have to show them by embodying that attitude. Telling them to do so won’t work – you have to show through your actions that you are committed and enthusiastic about what you do and about your company’s principles and values.
Becoming a strong business leader isn’t something that can be done overnight, but by bearing in mind these common characteristics of effective leadership, you can begin to move in the right direction and increase your business leadership skills.