Strong business leadership is a must at any business, yet all great leaders are wildly different from one another. In fact, staying totally unique by being true to oneself is a sign of a great leader!
However, there is a set of specific business leadership qualities that are an absolute must for any effective leader to possess. While every leader embraces these qualities differently, they are nonetheless present.
That being said, we’re sharing 7 absolute must business leadership qualities that every business leader needs to have!
Without these specific business leadership qualities, CEOs will:
- Make a major impact on the world;
- Never manifest the business results of their dreams; and
- Keep spinning their wheels without going anywhere.
You can have the best team members ever, the best product or service on the market, and even an all-star leadership team is backup, but if YOU don’t possess these 7 essential qualities, you’ll never live up to your full potential as a leader.
How Do You Develop Leadership Qualities?
What if I told you that you probably already possess not just the 7 leadership qualities below, but all the necessary qualities that it takes to become an amazing leader?
Believe it or not, but if you’re already part of the small minority who have chosen to dive into entrepreneurship, then you likely already have all the goods! What you really need to do is simply bring the goods out of the closet!
More specifically, you just need to dust them off and draw them out to their fullest extent.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “But what about all the business leadership programs out there that’ll teach me all the right leadership skills?”
Here’s the thing: Most leadership programs don’t do CEOs any good. Instead of drawing out leadership qualities, they teach a set of supposed business leadership skills that you could learn for $10 in a book. Not only that, but they focus on teaching basic skills without ever teaching how to apply them!
While having strong leadership skills such as excellent self-awareness are important, the truth is that most basic leadership programs won’t help further develop your leadership qualities. More likely than not, they’ll just add more noise to your already noisy life!
Instead of opting for a basic leadership course, better options for drawing out your leadership qualities include:
- CEO coaching; or
- Business growth training.
Remember, you already have the goods! Instead of trying to find more goods, dust off the ones you already have and make use of them to their fullest extent.
7 Leadership Qualities of Effective Leaders
So what are the qualities of a good leader?
These 7 qualities are essential for not just good leaders, but CEOs who:
- Are extremely motivated to achieve their business and personal goals;
- Want to find joy as a leader and business owner; and
- Want to make a real difference as a CEO.
Moreover, if you’re serious about becoming the best version of yourself, then drawing out and fostering these 7 qualities is of the utmost importance!
1. Playing to Win Instead of Not to Lose
While they might initially sound the same, there’s a major difference between playing to win versus playing not to lose in business.
On one hand, playing not to lose is about keeping your head above water. It’s associated with that feeling of just getting by. You’re not drowning, but you’re also not thriving.
While an entrepreneur might want to do much more than just get by, they’re more comfortable simply staying afloat versus launching themselves out of the water.
On the other hand, playing to win is about going all in to manifest your business visions. It’s about figuring out what it takes to manifest the vision, and then simply taking action despite the momentary challenges. Moreover, it’s about putting aside short-term discomfort for the sake of getting the long-term prize.
Ultimately, only the business leaders who play to win instead of not to lose manifest their business visions. Not only that, but they’re the ones who experience the true fulfillment that comes with bringing a vision to life.
Pain and simple, the most successful businesses are run by the CEOs who play to win!
Pick Your Hard
Here’s the thing: It’s hard to simply stay floating above the water while knowing that you could be doing so much more. It’s also hard to go all in while having to take some risks knowing that you could fail.
That being said, you need to pick your hard.
Choosing to survive or thrive both come with their own set of challenges, so it’s a matter of choosing which hard situation you want to put yourself through.
You will never be able to escape the challenges that come with life, therefore, you just need to pick which set of challenges are more worth overcoming.
Short-Term Thinking = Long-Term Disaster
The reason why most business leaders play not to lose instead of to win is because they have a short-term mindset.
In their minds, the short-term challenges associated with playing to win are simply too uncomfortable to go through. For example, they get consumed with certain thoughts related to fear, including:
- The potential fear of failure;
- The fear of going broke; and most importantly
- The fear of what other people will think of them when they fail and are broke.
However, if only they know that short-term thinking leads to long-term disaster!
At the end of the day, choosing to play not to lose will make you more comfortable in the short term, but you’ll always have that little flame burning inside of you that wants to explode into a fire.
That being said, great leaders are willing to experience short-term discomforts for the sake of the long-term prize.
2. 24/7 Learning
To put it simply, the best leaders are life-long learners. For them, learning doesn’t end at business school graduation.
More than that, the best business leaders are like sponges who soak up information from the world around them. Whether they’re thrown into a good or bad situation, they always choose to learn something from it (and therefore make every situation a positive one)!
Not only that, but great leaders aren’t afraid to be wrong. They’re not the kind of people who foster a work environment of “The boss is always right”. Instead, they’re able to put ego aside for the sake of learning, and then use that knowledge for everyday problem-solving.
As a result, not only do they learn more, but team members follow their example of lifelong learning.
Bottom line: Effective leadership is about life-long learning!
Learning Beyond Mentorship
Mentorship is nothing new to the business world. Many business owners see mentors as the plug to business success.
However, what if I told you that mentorship isn’t as effective as it’s chalked up to be? While having mentors is great and all, they aren’t the highest-quality source of leadership advice out there.
Instead of looking to mentors for guidance, effective leaders look to CEO coaches. Unlike mentors who may or may not even have experience as a business leader themself, CEO coaches are either current or former CEOs who coach based on direct experience.
More specifically, coaches coach other strong leaders to:
- Clarify their business visions;
- Develop solid business strategies to manifest those visions; and
- Empower themselves.
As a business owner, the single-best source of learning and development is a CEO coach.
Letting Metrics Speak For Themself
Believe it or not, many CEOs are afraid to monitor their own business metrics.
Because they’re afraid that the metrics will obviously show that they’re clearly doing something wrong or are heading in the wrong direction.
That being said, sometimes trying to decipher what exactly is going wrong is a simple matter of stepping out of the noise and having a hard look at your business metrics.
Unlike poor leaders who make excuses for their shoddy results, effective leaders embrace them. Instead of letting numbers scare them off, they let their metrics point them in the right direction.
3. Setting Their Own Standard Instead of Competing
You can’t lose a soccer tournament if you choose not to play in the tournament.
Similarly, you can’t lose to your business competitors if you put yourself in a league of your own. And this is exactly what effective business leaders do!
Instead of putting themselves in the same league as that of their competition, they create a league of their own. That way, their potential customers see them as categorically different than anything they’ve ever seen before.
From now on, instead of thinking of all the factors that make you better than your competitors, ask yourself what factors make you categorically different from everyone else.
For example, while Tesla manufactures cars, they’ve put themself in a class of their own by:
- Creating a one-of-a-kind customer experience;
- Having a completely different business vision; and
- Empowering drivers in a way never seen before.
Furthermore, if you’re sick and tired of competing, then stop willingly throwing yourself into already crowded fields!
Create a League of Your Own
So how do you start a league of your own?
Start off by brainstorming factors that only your business can claim. These aren’t factors that will make you say, “We do X better than our competition”, but instead, “We offer X and nobody else is offering it.”
If you’re having trouble coming up with these separatist factors, start by reflecting on your business vision. Then ask yourself, what about that unique vision is so special?
The key to starting your own league is honing in your vision!
Jump In When Others Jump Out
Would you believe me if I told you that most business owners leave endless money on the table? More specifically, we mean that they miss out on prime business growth opportunities because they think they don’t have a chance to make sales in certain situations.
For example, there is a pervasive belief amongst many business owners that it’s nearly impossible to make sales during these time frames:
- Right before the end of the fiscal year;
- Right before the holiday season; and
- In the middle of summer vacation.
However, the hard truth is that these three time frames are more than ideal for selling.
Not only that, but because so many business owners don’t even try to make sales during these times, that gives you an even better opportunity to walk right through an already opened door!
Bottom line: When all of your supposed ‘competitors’ are leaving money on the table, that’s your cue to jump in.
Every leader has their own unique leadership style. However, there is a specific personality trait that, if leaders don’t have it, then all of their potential virtually goes to waste.
And that trait is assertiveness!
There’s no way to beat around the bush- the best leaders are simply assertive.
Because they understand that 99% of people out there spend 99% of their time being consumed by their own problems. Therefore, they understand that the only way to get people’s attention, make sales, and grow their business is by being assertive!
If you want to be the type of leader who achieves their business and leadership goals, then you need to get their attention. You can’t grab attention without being assertive.
Being the Expert
In addition to understanding that assertiveness is key to getting people’s attention, entrepreneurs understand that they must be assertive in order to be seen as an expert.
Ultimately, business leaders who are viewed as experts foster the most effective work environments and achieve the most business success.
Let’s say that you’re experiencing debilitating back pain, so your primary care doctor sends you to see a specialized surgeon. After asking questions and having a look at your scans, the surgeon asserts some hard truths: not only do you have a terrible spinal condition, but you’re also going to need major corrective surgery if you want any hopes of returning to normal life.
Now, what is it about the surgeon that would make you move forward with the surgery despite all the risks? While there are several factors, the key factor is that you see the surgeon as an irreplaceable expert who wasn’t afraid to lay some hard facts on the table.
Instead of beating around the bush, they asserted the fact that you have a clear problem and that they are the perfect person to solve it. Without that assertiveness, odds are that you wouldn’t have moved forward.
If you want to be viewed as the expert leader you are, then don’t leave assertiveness out of the equation.
Are you one of the many business owners who live in a constant state of fog? Do you have somewhat of an idea of what you want, but you can’t see a path to it because of the fog?
If so, then you’re not alone. Living in a never-ending state of fog is an extremely common challenge among business owners.
Additionally, what often separates top business leaders from CEOs who never live up to their full potential is that top leaders clear the fog out of their path. More specifically, clarity is what separates the successful leaders from the unsuccessful!
Without having a clear vision of what you want your business to become and a path towards that vision, you’ll never live up to your full leadership potential.
Head back to the vision drawing board before doing anything else. Clarify your vision so that you know what you want, and can orient yourself towards that ultimate desired outcome.
More often than not, a clear vision creates the divide between the successful and the unsuccessful.
Having a Solid Blueprint
Once you know exactly what you want, you need a plan to get it. By that, we mean that once you clarify your business vision, you need to create a business strategy to manifest it!
Think of a strategy as a tool that creates the pathway towards your vision. Once you have it, you know what direction to head in and what moves you need to make.
Or, you can think of a business strategy like a blueprint for a house. With a blueprint, you can plan:
- Each step of the building process;
- The tools you’ll need; and
- Who you’ll need to help with the project.
Just like how your vision should be crystal clear, so should your strategy!
Setting the Right Goals
Once they have a clear vision and strategy, top business leaders set goals to fulfill the strategy. And not just any goals, but energy-based goals.
Here’s the thing: Goal setting is nothing new, yet most business owners consistently fail to accomplish their goals. On the other hand, top leaders not only achieve their goals, but surpass them.
While there are several key reasons why most CEOs don’t accomplish their goals, the most common reason why is that CEOs grossly underestimate the amount of energy it takes to accomplish goals.
As a result, not only do they not check the boxes, but they feel like failures.
In short, don’t set yourself up to also feel like a failure. Instead, set goals based on a realistic amount of energy it’ll take to accomplish them.
You’ll never find a successful business leader who isn’t fulfilled doing what they’re doing.
On the flip side, you’ll find plenty of business owners who aren’t fulfilled doing what they’re doing and constantly wonder why they never live up to their full potential!
What makes fulfillment so important?
For starters, fulfillment makes experiencing challenges significantly easier to manage. For example, if you’re a star soccer player who is absolutely in love with the game, then losing a few matches and having an injury will only push you to be better.
Second, fulfillment motivates you to think bigger about your visions. And usually, the bigger you think the bigger business results you get.
Furthermore, if the path you’re currently on doesn’t bring you fulfillment, then you’re probably best off finding a new path. Because without fulfillment, success is virtually impossible.
Successful Leaders Are Enthusiastic
So what does it mean to be fulfilled?
To be fulfilled means to have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is that deep-rooted joy you get from going through the process.
Now, don’t think for a second that enthusiasm is equal to happiness! In fact, you can be enthusiastic about something but unhappy at the same time.
Let’s say again that you’re a star soccer player who is absolutely enthusiastic about what you do. You might not be happy losing a game and getting injured, but that momentary lapse in happiness doesn’t make you any less enthusiastic about the game.
Moreover, happiness is surface-level and momentary, while enthusiasm is deep-rooted and based on the long-term process.
We’ve all heard the saying that it’s very important to be accountable for our actions. But, most of us haven’t heard that it’s just as important to be accountable for our words.
To put it simply, there’s no easier way to lose respect than not being accountable for your words. By not being accountable for your words, we mean saying one thing and then doing another thing.
Therefore, top business leaders keep tabs on the things they say, and then stick to them. Rather than making empty promises, they set realistic expectations and accomplish them.
On the off chance that they don’t do what they said they would do, they don’t push the blame on anyone else. Instead, they own up to it!
Unless you’re accountable for your actions AND words, you’ll lose the respect of team members, customers, and eventually yourself.
Final Thoughts on Leadership Qualities of Top Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is a seriously challenging journey with many moving pieces, and stepping into your leadership role is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.
Stepping into that role is a simple matter of drawing out essential leadership qualities while staying true to yourself.
Becoming a better leader is 100% in your power! Will you finally step up to the plate to become the kind of leader that you, your team members, and your customers need?
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