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What Makes A Great Business Leader?

By February 7, 2017 No Comments
What Makes A Great Business Leader?

There are so many leaders out there, but how many are truly great? The general consensus is that great leaders don’t just build great companies but they innovate; and they do one thing that the others don’t: he or she will make the people around them and below want to be better.

One way of thinking about different leadership styles is through the four-quadrant concept of leadership.

The Four-Quadrant Concept Of Leadership

  • Dominators. Leaders who fall into the top left quadrant are dominant leaders – they’re highly assertive and lack empathy. Leaders like this motivate by their sheer force of brutish personality, the “either you do this or get out” style. Some companies, particularly those on the verge of collapse, need this kind of leader because they get results, though the results tend to be short term.
  • Avoiders. Leaders who fall into the lower left quadrant are really not leaders at all as they lack assertiveness and empathy. Usually, you’ll find people like that have risen to a job they didn’t deserve and once in that position, they become exposed very quickly. These people tend to last a very short time in their post.
  • Accommodators. Leaders in the lower right quadrant are high on empathy but low on assertiveness. These leaders are beloved by their staff but you might mistake their company as a little sleepy. Perhaps the company has been successful for a long while and nobody has needed to rock the boat. It’s a fine place to be but eventually, the market and competitors get ahead and before you know it, an abrupt change takes place.
  • Collaborators. The “sweet spot” is in the upper right quadrant where you’ll find a leader that’s both assertive and empathetic. This is the secret sauce to great leadership. That person is not only marching up the mountain but has hundreds of people behind him or her.

So, the collaborator can lead from the front while keeping an eye on seeing that the needs and wants of their employees are met. But those are just the main qualities that can be easily seen, a great leader must also spin a number of other plates to keep everything running as best as it can.

Trust And Delegation

If you don’t learn to trust your team with your business goals and vision, you might never progress to the next stage. It’s important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of strength, not weakness. Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as your business grows. If you insist on handling everything yourself then you’re inevitably going to spread yourself too thin – never a good thing! It seems that as more millennials become leaders, the more that trust and transparency is being promoted in the workplace.

The key to delegation is identifying the strengths of your team, and capitalising on them. Find out what each team member enjoys doing most. Chances are that if they find one task more enjoyable, they will likely put more thought and effort behind it. This will not only prove to your team that you trust and believe in them, but will also free up your time to focus on your own higher level tasks. On that note, make sure that you’re also seen to be doing your own work and not simply sitting back now that you’ve delegated all of your own tasks. If you expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, you’re going to need to lead by example. There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss down in the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is being done on every level. By proving your commitment to the brand and your role, you will not only earn the respect of your team, but will also instil that same hardworking energy among your staff.

Communication And Leader Approach

Effective communication is imperative, both in the office and in life. Great leaders make sure they are heard and understood, but they also know the importance of listening. Communication is a two-way street, and making the most of it will have your company zooming forward instead of pumping the breaks. Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear in your head, but if you try to explain it to someone else and are met with a blank expression, you know there is a problem. If this has been your experience, then you may want to focus on honing your communication skills. Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is extremely important. If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.

When it comes to communication be careful not to tar everyone with the same brush. Not everyone is the same. You have cultural perspectives, language barriers, different educational backgrounds, personality traits and varying value systems with which individuals come pre-conditioned that greatly affects how information is processed and interpreted. Some people work well under pressure, others don’t. Some respond best to tough love, others take it personally and shut down. A great leader needs to be able to communicate effectively to each individual, based on the situation at hand.

Leadership is a mind-set in action. Leadership isn’t something that anyone can give you—you have to earn it and claim it for yourself.

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