“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” – Winston Churchill
The first requisite of being a good business leader is courage. As a leader, you will need courage to hold the mantle of leadership; courage to face your worst fears and courage to do the right thing regardless of whose butt is kicked. Courage is essential for facing competition and handling business challenges or business failures. Without courage, you can never be a good business leader. Examples of business leaders that displayed exceptional courage are J. Paul Getty, Mike Adenuga and Richard Branson.
“When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.” – Mary Kay Ash
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” – W. Clement Stone
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
2. Self Control
“He that controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” – Lao Tsu
Self control is one of the leadership traits essential for effective business leadership. Show me a great business leader and I will show you an individual who has established control over himself. Effective leadership will never be attained without self control. Of all controls available to a business leader; control over emotions is supreme. Without it; your success in leadership will be limited.
“When we direct our thoughts properly, we can control our emotions.” – W. Clement Stone
3. Good sense of Judgment
Leaders sometimes find themselves in a dilemma or situation where they have to trust their instinct and sense of judgment. One attribute of good leadership is the ability to discern right and wrong; and also making the right decisions when in a dilemma. All leaders are sometimes faced with situational cases; sometimes, you have to settle staff conflict and customer complaints. That’s why having a good sense of judgment is a prerequisite to becoming a good business leader.
“Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgments.” – Dr Warne W. Dyer
4. Definiteness of Decision
One thing with being a leader is that the decision making rests solely on your shoulders and you have to live with the consequences of your decisions. You may have a great business team but they are not going to make the decisions for you; all they are going to do is render advice. To be a good business leader, you must be definite and firm in your decision. You must also be quick in making your calculations and arriving at a conclusion. Henry Ford; the founder of Ford Motor Company was a leader respected for his firmness and definiteness of decision.
“Before making an important decision, get as much as you can of the best information available and review it carefully, analyze it and draw up worst case scenarios. Add up the plus or minus factors, discuss it with your team and do what your guts tell you to do.” – The Mafia Manager
5. Skillful Planning
Skillful planning is another attribute of good leadership. Good leaders are known to be tactical planners and plan executors. They plan and strategize critically with their team before making any move or taking any decision.
“The best thing to invest in your business is your time. To schedule, plan and use time effectively, know your turf and know your objectives. Assess the obstacles and opportunities, then devise your strategies.” – The Mafia Manager
“It takes character and control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie
Understanding is another essential trait of good leadership. You need understanding to decode signals sent across to you by your followers. You also need understanding to make good judgments of situations and handle staff conflict.
“A real leader faces the music even when he doesn’t like the tune.” – Arnold H. Glassgow
Fear of responsibility and accountability is the utmost reason why most people shy away from occupying leadership positions. As a business leader, you are responsible for the entire actions of your team. If things goes right, your entire team will share the honor and recognition with you but when things go wrong; you are alone. Ability to take responsibility is therefore the major difference between a leader and a follower.
“Fire is the test of gold, adversity of strong men.” – Seneca
8. Team work
“Successful businessmen share the ability to hire people smarter than they are.” – Dillard Munford
Another quality of good leadership is team work. Good business leaders don’t work alone; they bring on board people who are smarter than they are and delegate duties to these smart individuals. Great business leaders know that worthwhile achievements are never accomplished by stand alone men but by great business teams. Just like Sam Walton says “individuals don’t win in business; teams do.”
“I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.” – Lee Iacocca
9. Good Personality
“The most important thing in your business relationships is your reputation for honesty. If you can genuinely and sincerely fake honesty, you will be a success. Never doubt it.” – The Mafia Manager
Character is one of the attributes of good leadership. In fact, it’s probably the most important leadership trait of all. Your character is who you are and what you are made up of; without which you will never make a good leader.
That’s why I listed good personality as one of the traits of good leadership. Good personality entails having integrity, charisma, self confidence and a good appearance. No employee, investor or customer will willingly follow a timid leader who lacks good character.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five Minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
Leadership is not being at the helm of affairs neither is it overseeing a large group of followers. Leadership in business is all about directing a team towards achieving the desired goal and that business team comprise of men and women who are smarter than you in all ramifications. So if you must lead such individuals of high intellect; then you need to be humble.
“If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the IKEA employees.” – Ingvar Kamprad
Leadership is all about service and it takes humility to serve. It takes humility to admit your mistakes in business; it takes humility to learn new things and it takes humility to direct smarter individuals. That’s why humility is one of the most important leadership traits. Take a look at the achievements of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie and Mike Adenuga; and you will come to acknowledge the importance of humility in business leadership.
As a final note, these are the ten traits every entrepreneur must possess to become a good business leader. If achieving extraordinary accomplishments is your concern; then you must strive to develop these qualities of leadership.