The moment you start a business you cannot escape the responsibilities that come with being a leader. People will automatically begin to hold you against the dictates of good leadership. Everyone from customers to employees, investors, and so on will demand that from you. Therefore as an entrepreneur, you must understand the basic principles of effective business leadership. Simply put, business leadership is the process by which one inspires and influences other people to carry out objectives or goals and stirs the business in a way that delivers value to the associated stakeholders and shareholders.
Business Leader Vs Business Manager
Primarily we must make the distinction between the two. A leader by nature carries a vision and typically looks to take people to a destination they have never been to before. A manager on the other hand simply manages or maintains the status quo. You could also say that the manager handles someone’s vision. That is why a leader must communicate the vision so that everyone else runs with it. That is why you usually find a CEO being at the helm of a business or company. Managers will be found being subordinate to the CEO. This distinction is crucial because some entrepreneurs play the role of a manager when they ought to be leading.
Qualities Of An Effective Business Leader
Active Self Awareness
Before all else, as a business leader, you must be consciously and actively self-aware. You must clearly know what your strong points and weak points are. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself and go as far as admit areas where you must improve. This also refers to how knowledgeable and skilful you are. Be self-aware of where you fall short in terms of knowledge and skills.
This primes you to be open to learn and improve on yourself as an individual. Most business leaders are arrogant becomes they feel they are the monopoly of all knowledge and skills. Be open to and objectively sift through criticism otherwise you will think there is something wrong with everyone else except yourself. This is the most important foundation for effective business leadership!
Continual Self Improvement
You cannot ignore this especially in this ever rapidly changing and fast-paced world we live in. Being deliberate about improving oneself continually is the mark of a true business leader. No wonder you find well-established billionaire entrepreneurs still voraciously reading books. You would think they have made it and really do not need to read books but they are so big on it. Why? It is because they know the importance of continually augmenting their strengths and in the process starving their weaknesses. It is not just books alone; enrolling for courses, focused discussions with other people, being under tutelage or mentorship are also other methods for continual improvement. The continual improvement also deals with wellness initiatives such as eating healthy, exercising, and so on. An effective business leader does all this because they know it moulds them into a better leader.
A business leader by implication of the term takes people to new business horizons. He or she has a vision of where a business can get to so they must be able to properly communicate it to other people. If a business leader cannot effectively communicate their business vision they will have a hard time getting customers and employees to bring out the desired results. Communication is always happening be it good or bad so you must be very strategic and deliberate about it.
It is advisable to not use a blanket approach when communicating with people. You must be situational i.e. treat every situation that comes your way contextually and deals with it appropriately. For instance, there is a situation where being stern can get the message across whereas in another situation it might be best to be colloquial or casual. Effective business leadership calls upon one to assess the merits of a situation and wisely choose how best to communicate.
Objective Character Judgement
You cannot talk about leading people if you do not really know them. People are different and this can necessitate different approaches in relating to them. For instance, you can have one employee who needs a push to get things done and another who is highly initiative and self-motivated. You must be able to notice those character differences so that you smartly engage with them in ways that bring the best out of them. In judging characters the nuances can be so masked that it will take a keen eye to notice them. For an effective business leader, nothing will escape their eye. This does not mean the business leader goes off scot-free when it comes to their own individual character, absolutely not! They must exhibit high levels of honesty, trustworthiness, and respect, amongst others.
At the apex of it all, an effective business leader has high emotional intelligence. This means you must be in touch with and control your emotions. You must also equally understand the emotions of others and their underlying influences. You must be a risk-taker, inspiring, and be of the high initiative so that those you lead are pumped to follow you and run with you. You often hear people saying this family is messed up because it lacks leadership or that nation lacks leadership. That is the same in the business world; a business lacking effective business leadership will never amount to anything successful. The beautiful thing though is that effective business leadership can be cultivated; anyone can become an effective business leader.