What are the personal characteristics and practices separating effective business leaders from others? While recognizing that every company and person is unique, it’s safe to say that leadership consists of at least a few common traits. There are certainly more than seven, but that number encompasses common behaviors, beliefs, actions, and efforts that spell long-term success for commercial entities.
Every leader knows the value of making detailed plans for daily operations, finances, production benchmarks, sales goals, etc. But they also place much trust in the power of education, both for themselves and for those who work for them. Other concepts and philosophies that get priority attention from effective managers include moderation, compassion, community involvement, thoughtful networking, and delegation. Here are pertinent details about the seven traits that can make any leader more effective.
Some are obsessed with planning. These people are sought after and hired for their unusual abilities. In all seriousness, the single most common trait of top-level corporate managers is their devotion to planning of all types. Whether long-range, short-range, financial, operational, or otherwise, these leaders of the commercial world possess a keen appreciation for the power of making detailed plans for every phase of operations.
There’s a myth that planners always stick to their goals. The very best planning pros are entirely open to adapting and adjusting plans as new information is gained. The key to effective planning is not rigid adherence to the written document but simply having a document from which to work. Changes, amendments, adaptations, adjustments, and alterations are all part of the process.
Leaders aim for degrees. It’s not about clout or appearances but acquiring applicable skills. The most popular undergraduate degree among corporate principals is a bachelor’s in business administration. At the graduate level, the MBA is still the coin of the realm. Small business owners can fund their education through scholarships and grants.
Moderation for company owners and founders takes many forms. For millions of principals, it’s the life-saving secret weapon that keeps them from working too hard and burning out early in their careers. For others, it’s the magic formula for developing a work-life balance that keeps them sane and helps preserve their physical and mental health.
Compassion for employees goes a long way and serves numerous purposes. As a way of life, it’s a wise strategy that helps managers and owners as much as it does workers. As a management technique and philosophy, compassion is an effective way to demonstrate to employees that their supervisors, managers, and bosses genuinely care about the success of everyone on the team.
Not long ago, few corporations paid attention to being members of the communities where they were located or operated. Nowadays, the concept gets more attention than most other managerial strategies, and it is a strategy. How can you cultivate and develop it? Create local contacts with other businesses, politicians, chambers of commerce, schools, and civic organizations. Donate company time and money to local causes. Support charities and sponsor events demonstrating to the community that your company cares about the well-being of everyone whose lives it touches.
In the digital age, networking is an indispensable process for anyone who wants to succeed in the commercial universe. The best management teams and individuals spend time building personal and professional networks. They start early in their careers and learn the fine points of making contacts, meeting the right people, understanding how to maintain relationships over long periods, and more.
Delegation takes two forms, one inside the company and one outside. The latter is typically called outsourcing, but it’s delegation all the same. Unfortunately, too many corporate leaders lack this quality and have trouble developing it independently. It means learning to let go, to give essential responsibilities to others, and carefully choose the people to do those jobs.