Being a leader is most definitely not for everyone. Some like to work in the background and make their contributions from afar. Others like to be front and center and in control of their whole operation. The life of a successful business leader is glorious from the outside, which is why many strive to become one. That said, these individuals spent years developing habits and fine tuning their skills that make them the successful leaders they are today. If you plan on becoming a leader yourself take note of these four common characteristics that most successful business leaders share.
They Lead With a Vision
The word vision gets tossed around all the time in business. If you want others to follow you need to know where you’re going. As the leader you need to identify your company’s core purpose. What is the core issue you are solving? Why is this important to you and what’s the five year plan for the business? Sure these may change as you pivot and grow the business but you need to make sure the entire organization shares similar, if not the exact same values. The more clear you are about your vision the more your employees will be motivated to work towards that common goal.
They Take Care of Others Before Themselves
Everyone wants to know that you have their back. Great leaders lead with a “serve-first” mentality which means they take actions that are ultimately in the best interest of the people. In this case “the people” are your employees. When you serve your employees first they will begin to develop an unwavering loyalty and respect for you. In addition, a loyal employee is a productive one. Sure there will be some decisions that will cause a slight rift in this bond but as long as you’re consistently for the people you’ll be fine.
They Have Respect for Time
Time is our most valuable asset. Once it’s spent you can’t get it back. That said every strong leader has the utmost respect for time. Not only your time but more importantly their own. If you offer to take every meeting or event then you’re setting the precedent that what you’re doing isn’t that important. You need to establish clear boundaries for what you’re doing and let others know your time is valuable. As long as you’re respectful others will respect these choices. When you schedule meetings or events on your calendar make sure you’re only taking ones that you can provide clear and measurable value. Otherwise your time is better spent elsewhere.
They Speak With Their Actions
In this day and age talk is very cheap. With so much “fake news” floating around it’s really hard to simply “take your word for it”. Being an eloquent speaker is definitely a characteristic of a strong leader but that’s only part of it. The remaining piece has to do with their actions. As a leader you need to be very strategic in what you promise. It’s okay to be ambitious but remember it’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver than the latter. If you begin to fall short on your promises the company and the market will lose confidence. If things do get rocky (which they will) a strong leader also knows how to take responsibility. People make mistakes all the time, however if you aren’t respected you may not be forgiven.
They Don’t Let The Details Escape Them
While a leader shouldn’t necessarily be in the tiny details of the day-to-day, a good leader should still be detail-oriented. The details are often where tweaks are made that can lead to insight and innovation. Leaders who are too far removed from details can easily miss new opportunities, or a could miss catching a mistake. The biggest thing for leaders to not let the details escape them is set aside the time to focus on the nitty-gritty of a project. Set a timer and give your full attention to whatever you need to for that set amount of time. By giving yourself the chance to focus fully on the details, you can catch the little things that can be too easy to miss.
Becoming a successful leader does not happen overnight. That said there are definitely habits you can develop and characteristics you can study to become a better leader. The four characteristics above are only a small batch of qualities successful business leaders share. However they are four that nearly every leader has. So if you don’t possess them already I strongly suggest adopting these characteristics to become a better leader.
Originally published here.