What Makes a Good Leader?

Leadership and business owning go hand in hand, particularly when the business grows enough to start hiring. Making the transition from business owner to manager can be a tricky one to navigate, particularly if you’ve never held a leadership position before. Here’s why being a good leader is so important to business success, the traits a good leader possesses and ways to improve your leadership skills.

Why is being a good leader so important as a business owner?

Strong leadership as a business owner directly influences the success, growth and longevity of the business. Here are a few reasons why…

  1. Employee engagement and motivation: hiring the right people and then retaining them arguably has the biggest impact on business success, and it’s ofcourse one of the hardest things to master. A good leader motivates their employees and creates a positive environment that people want to work in. Happy employees are productive employees!
  2. Good decision making: being able to weigh up options and then make confident decisions within the business is a hallmark of a strong leader. Indecisiveness and being too slow to move has a trickle down effect that will often mean your competitors stay ahead of you.
  3. Culture: we’ve all worked for excellent and poor managers and know the stress and uncertainty of being ‘led’ by someone who’s erratic, a micromanager or a poor communicator. On the other hand, a great leader will embrace healthy workplace habits, be a supportive and positive role model and encourage innovation and collaboration. 
  4. Better customer satisfaction: a great culture internally will always lead to stronger customer service. When you have a team who are happy in their jobs, they simply do those jobs better! This means repeat business and strong customer loyalty.

And that’s just scratching the surface. If you consider the top-down management approach – leading by example – then it makes perfect sense that a strong leader means a stronger business. Sometimes, a founder’s skills will lie in the strategy or implementation areas of their business rather than in the leadership and management roles. That’s absolutely fine too! It’s about recognising strengths and weaknesses, and hiring the right people to plug the holes that need plugging. Sticking to what you’re good at is always key to success.

What are the hallmark signs of a good leader?

The list is endless but here are a few key traits to get your mind ticking:

  • Vision and strategy: A great business leader has a clear vision for the future and the ability to develop and implement a strategic plan to achieve it
  • Communication skills: They possess the ability to clearly articulate their vision and ideas to others, as well as actively listen to feedback and perspectives from their team
  • Decisive: They can make hard decisions quickly and confidently
  • Adaptability: A great leader is flexible, meeting change head on rather than avoiding it
  • Emotional intelligence and empathy: The ability to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others
  • Passion: A great business leader is passionate about their work and their team, inspiring others to strive for excellence
  • Collaboration: The ability to work effectively with others to achieve their goals
  • Ethical standards: They are guided by strong ethical standards, consistently acting in the best interests of their team, stakeholders, and the wider community

How can I improve my leadership skills?

It’s easy to list the traits that make a good leader, and we’re sure you fully appreciate how important good leadership is to your business. It’s harder to embody those traits and ensure that you’re constantly improving on your leadership skills. Seeking honest feedback, being open to receiving constructive criticism and then taking action to improve is absolutely paramount. Attending training sessions and seeking out development opportunities is also key.

Some of the ways we’ve done that recently include…

Great leadership is an ever-evolving, complex beast that requires a concerted, consistent effort to reach and maintain. It’s something we love chatting to business owners about. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss further!