Despite being analysed for many centuries, the truth is that there’s no silver bullet or magic recipe for becoming a great leader. Becoming a leader that others will respect and want to follow is a mixture of innate talent for the role and years of learning and observing others in positions of authority.
To be the commander-in-chief affords you instant power and authority, but this goes hand in hand with loneliness and isolation from the rest of the ‘gang’. If you’re in charge, you may as well accept now that you’re not going to be everyone’s best mate and will have to make uncomfortable decisions.
However, there are a few key skills are essential to becoming a great business leader. Huge numbers of successful business leaders possess vast amounts of the following qualities:
Have confidence in your decisions (however unpopular)
Self-confidence and decisiveness are prerequisites of the successful leader. They realise that there is a close relationship between self-confidence, risk and an effective decision making process.
For example, Yoel Wazana, President and Co-founder of the now hugely successful company Micro Solutions Enterprises (MSE) took a huge risk investing his time, effort and finances into a product that people thought was defunct. A few years ago the re-manufactured printer cartridge industry had a bad reputation, it was unpopular and often faulty due to the poor design meaning it was going out of fashion...fast!
Yoel Wazana took the risky decision to re-design a high quality product, which has since revolutionised the business. The result is that MSE products are now sold in over 40 international markets, across the globe.
Communicate clearly and positively
Great leaders consistently think and communicate in a positive way, but it takes time and effort to perfect this skill. The leader who can inspire others using positive words and vision, will instill confidence in their teams, which will ultimately lead to success. The leader who is pessimistic, negative and lacks confidence will usually produce one result - failure!
Your job as a leader is to show your teams the light at the end of the tunnel, using clear, consistent and positive communication. People want to follow positive leaders.
Have a clear long-term vision and inspire others to action
In a world-class business, nothing is left to chance. Vision and direction are the key to greatness and each of the team has a clear sense of where the business is heading and how each person is an integral part of that journey.
With a clearly communicated vision, your business will benefit from buy in from its employees, which will empower them to achieve the goals set.
A good vision:
- Identifies direction and purpose
- Sets standards of excellence
- Inspires enthusiasm and commitment
- Is well articulated and easily understood
- Reflects the company's unique strengths
Get a good mentor
You may think this advice is counter-intuitive. Surely great leaders get there on their own? But this is, in fact, seldom the case. Having the benefit of a good mentor to guide you and advise on business decisions is essential when you’re alone at the top.
It’s best to choose someone you don’t know personally but someone you aspire to be and have complete confidence in.
Ella Mason, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Ella specialises in providing useful and engaging advice to small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @ellatmason