7 traits that make great business leaders

Not everyone is cut out to lead a business, as it takes a special combination of skills and attitude to be successful. In this article, Kellie Byrnes explores the seven critical traits every business leader must have.

To run a business effectively, you must know your industry well and have a good understanding of your products or services and the clients you’re selling them to.

But many entrepreneurs forget that being successful in business also requires many key personal skills.

If you want to achieve all your career goals, here are some of the top traits you need to hone.

Creating a venture that gets the results you want can’t happen unless you have a clear vision.

Entrepreneurs should know where they’re trying to get to with their business, and why.

Having this clarity helps you choose which opportunities to pursue and which to say no to.

Vision is also a must with regards to keeping your team motivated, engaged, and committed.

When employees and other stakeholders know what you’re trying to achieve, they have a better sense of direction with their work and are more likely to want to “go along for the ride”.

Leaders who communicate their vision make everyone feel a part of the team.

They’re also more likely to attract top talent who are impressed and excited by the values and direction communicated.

When you’re in charge of a business, there are always more tasks to do each week than there is time. As such, it’s essential to have the ability to manage your time.

A big part of this comes down to prioritising things well.

Decide where your time is best spent and then delegate jobs that don’t fall within this area to others.

Managers also require focus. This refers not only to choosing what to work on each day, but also finding ways to ensure you’re not constantly distracted.

Be strict with yourself and set up good habits and schedules so you can carve out solid chunks of work time to focus on deep work that involves thinking, strategising, planning, and other focused tasks.

Be wary of letting yourself be regularly interrupted by other people or emails, phone calls, or other things that compete for your attention.

Being an entrepreneur is often fun and invigorating, but it’s also stressful, draining, and full of challenges.

To keep going when times are tough, then, you must develop a resilient nature.

READ: 5 lessons born of adversity

Resilience enables you to pick yourself up after setbacks and keep knocking on doors to get a yes, even after you’ve heard many nos.

Your resilience also comes across to your staff members and helps them to feel settled and confident on the job. In turn, they can be more productive.

The most successful business people are creative ones.

After all, to get results that other organisations can’t, you have to be able to think differently and develop compelling, original, memorable products or services.

It also helps to be a visionary who is open and curious, and who can spot opportunities (or notice risks that others don’t.

Having a creative mindset will make it easier for you to find ways to overcome problems and to turn some issues into benefits.

Using your imagination will also help you effectively utilise your team, negotiate with suppliers and others, and stretch your company’s budget further.

Similarly, to stay in business long term and create a profitable venture, a handy skill is adaptability.

Entrepreneurs who are flexible rather than rigid won’t keep following a path that isn’t working.

They’ll change tack when needed rather than backing themselves into a corner that’s difficult to find a way out of.

Adaptable business people are also better at testing out ideas and going down a new path if an ideal opportunity presents itself.

Flexibility also makes the process of managing an organisation less stressful, as you can cope better with change.

A must-have skill for any entrepreneur is the ability to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life.

To get ahead in business, you must get your ideas and passion across to both internal and external stakeholders.

For example, you’ll need to impress potential partners or investors, wow customers, invigorate and train employees, sway financiers, negotiate with suppliers, and engage journalists.

As a leader, make sure you can articulate your thoughts well verbally and in writing.

Also, pay attention to your body language and learn to read that of others.

When you read about the personalities and habits of many of the world’s top CEOs and other business people, you’ll notice most of them talk about their passion for learning.

People at the top of their game have a growth mindset rather than a fixed one, which means they are always looking for ways to learn new things and improve their knowledge and skills.

To get ahead as an entrepreneur, keep challenging yourself to grow and develop in a variety of ways.

This could involve steps such as completing courses, reading books and magazines and other content, getting a mentor, receiving training, listening to speakers, and attending workshops.

Everything you do to improve your abilities as a leader will have a positive impact on your success and that of your team and organisation.