The business leadership skills you need to succeed
Running a business is not for the faint of heart. It’s an empowering but unforgiving task fraught with challenges and unknowns at almost every turn. It takes a capable leader to manage all the moving parts so that the business not only makes a profit but becomes self-sustaining. Whether you own your own business or run someone else’s, effective leadership in business is a make-or-break factor for a company’s success. Strong business leadership accelerates success, while poor leadership is oftentimes the proverbial nail in the coffin. Learning effective business and leadership skills sets the stage for fulfilling your company’s true potential.
Do you want to improve your business leadership skills?Learn More
Leadership in business is the basis of success
Leadership in the business world is unique in that it requires interpersonal skills as well as technical savvy. Effective leadership in business includes the ability to set challenging SMART goals that distinguish a company from its competition. Business leadership means taking decisive action to problem-solve on a dime. And just as importantly, great business leadership nurtures the human component of a company by inspiring staff to perform at their highest potential. Strong leadership sets the tone for your company culture, which is the driving force of staff retention as well as customer loyalty.
What does a lack of skilled business leadership look like? Poor leadership in business has many faces. A poorly-led team lacks direction, inspiration and cohesion. If your sales, marketing and customer service teams are disjointed, no one will be able to get their job done well. In time, weak business leadership creates a downward spiral of dysfunction that inevitably seeps into your customer relations. And when you’re not creating raving fan customers, your business is on its way to the grave.
How to improve your business leadership skills
If you are searching for ways to build your business leadership skills, you’re already demonstrating your potential to lead. Natural leaders want to perform at the top so they can inspire others to do the same. Here are tips for learning effective skills for leadership and business success.
1. Lead by inspiration, not domination
One of the quintessential traits of strong leadership is that it encourages each person in a team to bring their A game. Rather than making demands, effective business leadership invites collaboration. When each member of a team feels valued and respected, everyone is empowered to bring their full creativity to the table.
2. Lead by example
As the person ultimately in charge of your business, you must lead by example. This is no place for a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. When you set an example for your team, you’re creating the basis from which your corporate culture ultimately emerges. You want to demonstrate honesty, integrity and trustworthiness so that these traits become synonymous with your brand.
3. Practice empathy
Empathy in business is one of the most pivotal skills you will ever learn. In the context of business leadership, empathy equates to understanding the other party’s perspective so you’re able to find common ground with them. Rather than focusing on your differences, you’re able to communicate in a way that facilitates collaboration to further your shared goals.
4. Be flexible
True leadership in business is goal-oriented, but flexibly so. You must be adaptable in your approach to running a business, or else your problem-solving abilities will be less effective. Bolstering your business and leadership skills requires engaging challenges with an open mind. From here, you’re able to see all the options available to you.
5. Communicate like a master
Effective communication with your team, your clients and partners within the industry or community is essential for leadership and business success. Identifying your team’s and your own communication styles can help you tailor your message to your audience and ensure it’s understood. Mastering your verbal and nonverbal communication skills will improve every part of your business and set a standard for how others in your business are expected to communicate.
6. Become adept at conflict resolution
No matter how well you communicate, you will experience conflict in your company. Effective leadership in business requires that you learn how to handle conflict in a way that defuses tension and turns obstacles into opportunities. A large part of conflict resolution involves negotiation skills. If you can negotiate effectively, the parties involved in a conflict won’t feel like they have either lost or won. Instead, everyone will feel they have learned something and reached a fair result – one they can build on to create improved strategies for the future.
7. Always celebrate victory
Celebrating successes and victories – no matter how large or small – creates a close-knit team with empowering beliefs. It can be tempting to focus on deals that don’t go through, employees who are underperforming or mistakes made by team members in an attempt to make changes and improve. However, not celebrating the successes and honoring those who are going above and beyond is a mistake. Positive reinforcement is powerful, and when you use it frequently as one of your business leadership skills, your corporate culture will be one of positivity and growth.
Two exceptional business leadership examples
General Electric CEO Jack Welch is a prime example of stand-out business leadership and all it can accomplish. In his 20-year tenure with GE, Welch exemplified leadership in business through his financial strategies, commitment to constant innovation and horizontal power structure. By requiring management to work alongside workers, Welch inspired the entire team. GE’s staff was empowered to produce its best work, increasing GE’s market value by $493 billion. As the company fine-tuned its operations, it also found innovative strategies that set the GE product apart from competitors’ products. As a result of Welch’s business leadership skills, the company became the household name it is today.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is another powerful example of leadership and business success. Like Welch, Hastings has shown strong business leadership in the area of innovation to take his business from a mail subscription service to a leader in online streaming entertainment. Hastings exemplifies why the customer’s life is your business’ life: he showed deep understanding of this via adapting his business model to meet customer needs. Hastings also clearly knows that the secret to living is giving, and he’s put time, money and energy into promoting change through education impact initiatives involving charter schools and the California Board of Education.