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7 attributes of a great business leader

Fri 14 Jun 2019

With hard work and the right business training, anyone can rise to the top and become a manager or business owner. But it takes certain attributes to become a great and influential leader. Someone that people can aspire to be like, and someone that brings the best out in others.

Being a leader isn’t about being superior, but being a motivator and mentor. So are you cut out for a job in management? Here are 7 core traits that every great business leader should have.

1. Persistence

When you get knocked down, do you get up again? Great business leadership is built on persistence and believing in your project or cause. Stay focused on your goal and remain tenacious in achieving it. When you lead a team, your attitude and approach is an influence on others. If you can continue on your course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition, you will have a greater chance of success.

2. Thick skin

Not everyone will agree with your methods or admire your vision. But if you believe in what you’re doing, you will need a tough coat of armour to handle any criticism that comes your way. The thicker your skin, the less stress you’ll have when it comes to negativity. Try to be constructive and listen when valuable advice is offered, but don’t let it dampen your spirits or steer you off course.

3. The ability to listen

‘Silence is a source of great strength’ - these were the wise words of ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. When applied in business, it’s about stopping and listening, and not charging ahead without counsel. Value your team and the people you work with, and draw from their expertise to get optimum results.

4. Good interpersonal skills

A good boss never leads by force. They inspire, influence, and are inclusive of others. This is where soft skills provide more value than hard skills in the workplace. Learn how to collaborate well, build a good rapport with employees, and develop easy methods of communication. Motivate your team and focus on ways to help them achieve their personal goals, as well as company targets.

5. The ability to see the best in others

Being able to recognise talent is key. You are only as good as your team, and the people you lead will ultimately determine the success or failure of any venture. Effective business leadership is not about you - it’s about the people you hire. Understand their strengths and weaknesses, nurture their skills, and reward those who go above and beyond.

6. Accountability

Can you admit when you’re wrong? Do you recognise your own mistakes? Having accountability sets a good example for your team. It also improves productivity levels as problems are resolved faster. When it comes to staff appraisals, ask them for feedback about how you can be a better manager.

7. Willingness to learn

It was once said by John F. Kennedy that ‘leadership and learning are indispensable to each other’. The best piece of knowledge that a business leader can have is that they don’t know everything. Being a good boss involves continuous learning on the job, and that means drawing experience from people at the top as well as the bottom. Leave your ego at the door and you’ll be able to broaden your mind.

What next?

Perhaps you have the aspiration to study at a globally-recognised business school such as our partner Henley Business School. Or maybe you want to fast-track your way to a career in International Business in Amsterdam, a city known for being a vibrant economic hub.

If you think you have the attributes to be a great manager or business leader, use our course finder to search for a route to Business Management degrees at top universities in the UK, Europe, or the USA. 

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