As a business coach I work with business owners to help them improve their personal and business effectiveness. One key area of focus is leadership. I’ve seen many definitions of leadership. Here is one that comes from a recent Forbes Magazine article:
“Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal”
And while there are diverse views on whether great leaders are born or made, it is generally accepted that you can learn to be a better leader. Is it worth your investment in time and effort to improve your leadership skills? One only needs to look at a cross section of successful business owners to understand that strong leadership is a common ingredient for business success. Among the many behaviours of these leaders we see an unwavering persistence, as well as discipline, passion, and courage to pursue their goals. They deliver results in a way that creates value for all stakeholders.
So what are the five common attributes of a strong business leader?
First, strong business leaders have the ability to create a clear vision. They can clearly and simply describe what they want to achieve and define their desired future state. And This can apply to their personal life as well as business. They demonstrate a higher level of creativity, and ability to innovate and then work towards this vision. Business leaders are good at developing strategies which address their business purpose, vision and values for their organization, along with a short list of long range goals they need to achieve to deliver their future state vision. They also communicate effectively and get buy-in from their stakeholders, so their ideas quickly build momentum.
Second, strong business leaders get things done. They are extremely effective in taking action and delivering results. They do this by establishing detailed tactics and action plans to implement their strategies, and they take a very disciplined and rigorous approach, including the use of key performance indicators and milestone points to stay on track. Ultimately, strong business leaders not only develop clear visions, they also demonstrate an ability to put their vision successfully into practice.
Third, strong business leaders motivate and inspire. They build strong, high performing employee teams and strategic business partners and alliances which enables them to accelerate their ability to ‘get things done’. They are liked, charismatic, with a strong following, with loyal and productive team resources to help them do more in a shorter period of time.
Fourth, strong business leaders develop capability in others. This is an attribute that many leaders could improve upon, one that requires an unselfish focus on the needs of others, and the recognition that the development of other strong leaders will have broader benefits beyond your own business. For many leaders this attribute becomes stronger at a later stage of their career. The concept of giving more than you take is one that one must subscribe to if they want to significantly improve this particular leadership behaviour.
Fifth, strong business leaders are self aware of their strengths and weaknesses and they continuously work on developing their own capability. They seek feedback, often working with a mentor to identify and address opportunities for improvement. They understand that even the strongest leaders have gaps that can be worked on.
Which of these five attributes are currently a strength for you? Which are the biggest opportunity for improvement? Can you identify a short list of improvement actions? Consider completing this simple self assessment and incorporate actions into your personal development plan.
For more information about my business coaching services, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.