The Basics of Successful Business Leadership
- Business Administration
- November 3, 2023
- 183 views
- 4 min read
You need to be a good leader to be successful in business. This article will explore some of the most important characteristics of being a good leader so that you can apply these principles to your own professional endeavors.
To start, how can you tell if you’re being a good leader? Well, it’s pretty simple. If the people on your team are following you (i.e. if your team consistently completes assigned tasks and takes initiative in support of the mission and vision), then you are probably demonstrating positive leadership characteristics. If they aren’t, there is some work to do with your leadership approach.
Crafting a Compelling Mission, Vision, and Core Values
Crafting and communicating a compelling mission, vision, and core values is an essential characteristic of an effective leader. Leaders must motivate the team to work together to achieve the organizational goals, and the mission, vision, and core values help team members align their collective decision-making process.
The mission identifies the direction in which a company is headed. The vision describes what your company will look like if it succeeds in its mission. The core values reflect the approach your team will take as they execute the mission and vision. The combination of these three inputs serves as a guidepost for the organization, shaping its trajectory and actions.
For a mission or vision to be effective, it must be credible, clear, and inspirational. The mission and vision must align with your organization’s capabilities and circumstances to be realistic. It must be sufficiently clear to allow team members to visualize it and develop a shared understanding. Finally, it must inspire your team to perform at their best, driving their collective effort to support your goals.
Maintain Open Communication with Employees
Communication is a critical aspect of leadership. It starts with effectively communicating the mission and vision to your team. Without clear communication, the vision remains inaccessible and fails to inspire or guide actions.
Leaders must then empower key, high-level employees to make independent decisions supporting that vision. Providing team members with such autonomy demonstrates trust and drives engagement. If you have hired the right people (written about at length in other articles) and effectively communicated your objectives and values, you should have confidence in their ability to make appropriate decisions.
Employees will not always choose the same course of action you would have personally chosen, but that is not a reason to withhold such decision-making authority. You should critically evaluate the outcomes of such decisions to determine if the employee’s decision was ultimately effective.
It is possible their choice resulted in a better outcome than you would have obtained, in which case, you can learn something from their decisions and rationale. Or, if the outcome was not positive, use it as a learning opportunity to align about how you hope they will evaluate similar circumstances in the future. Doing so will create a safe space for your team to become more effective with autonomous decision-making and give you more time for strategic planning.
Regularly Engage in Strategic Planning
Managers perform the important business function of supporting team members in the daily execution of their assigned responsibilities and verifying progress with those tasks. Successful leaders typically perform similar management functions but consistently find the time to engage in long-term strategic planning for their organization.
Strategic planning and execution are pivotal components of effective leadership. Leaders often get wrapped up in their day-to-day responsibilities and lose sight of the forest for the trees. Successful business leaders take time to reflect on their business’s objectives and the competitive landscape within their market so they can develop strategic plans to achieve their goals.
Successful leaders don’t just strategically plan once, though. They regularly reflect on the existing strategic plans and adjust them as needed or deliberately deploy new strategies to pursue different goals based on updated information or circumstances. The willingness to admit a strategic error and learn from it is the hallmark of an effective leader.
Continuous Learning and Improvement
Great leaders are committed to continuous learning and improvement. They seek feedback from their customers, employees, and external partners or stakeholders so they can learn from their mistakes and improve the value proposition offered by their company. They prioritize innovation and experimentation, as they know that such practices create a virtuous cycle when paired with strategic planning initiatives, as described above.
In conclusion, effective business leadership relies on a compelling vision, clear communication, employee engagement, strategic planning, and adaptability. Embracing these qualities and skills will guide organizations toward success in an ever-evolving business environment.