Importance of Leadership in the Business World

How Do You Define Leadership?

Leadership consists of the skills that encourage people to want to do the right thing. When they’ve finished doing something right, they and the leader celebrate. Celebrating such a win inspires everyone to do more of the right thing.

Something we should clearly understand is that a leader is much more than a manager. Certain managerial skills are part of leadership, but managing is more about things than people. Leaders who try to manage their teams are treating the people like things. Very ineffective!

How To Apply Leadership in the Business World

Leaders must understand, possess and apply certain traits and skills. 

Small business group paying close attention to their leader – credit  Mapbox on Unsplash

First, of course, they must exhibit integrity. This means saying what they’ll do, then doing what they say. An important distinction here is what to do if they can’t keep a promise. If a leader says they’ll do X by Y (time), and circumstances make it impossible, they must explain that as soon as they realize it. Then they take any action they can to mitigate the impact of the failure to meet their original intention.

Each member of a team must do this as well. If anyone fails in that integrity, the leader must immediately coach the team member on the importance of integrity by everyone. They must do this coaching privately. An important leadership tenet is: Praise publicly and criticize privately.

Knowing and taking an interest in team members’ lives is important in leadership. Everyone on the team must feel the leaders’ interest in their personal well-being. Imparting that feeling to each member helps make them feel that they are part of something larger than themselves.

Other characteristics of importance in leadership are:

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Empowerment – letting people run with a task. Micro-management is the antithesis of empowerment.
  • Decisiveness – make decisions quickly and change them slowly.
  • Charisma – good leaders are enjoyable to be around.

 Significance of Leadership

Here, I’ll again resort to the sports analogy. 

Put a group of talented football or hockey players together and send them out onto the field or ice. Without leadership, how well would they likely fare in their competitions?

Probably one of the players would emerge as the leader. However, would they be able to see the “big picture” from their perspective, immersed in the play-by-play action? It would be a rare individual who could do that.

Business teams are in many ways analogous to sports teams. Talent is important. Competent direction, coordination and encouragement can double or triple its effectiveness.; 

Functions of Leadership

The role of leadership can be summed up in one function. Leadership is about enabling teams of people to accomplish more than the sum of what they could do if they worked independently of each other. 1+1=2, or 3.

There are many skills and traits that leaders use to make this happen. We’ve touched on some of the most important of those.

Leaders make the difference in teams’ performance!

Note: Archived issues of The Unity Community are available here. Search that page for keywords representing your particular interest. Most articles offer suggestions for ways of improving business and personal relationships. Keep in mind that business is done by…people. Every business concern is essentially an inter-personal concern. 

A “Shot in the Arm” Every Day!

Eric Lofholm, my friend, mentor and sales coach, hosts a 15-minute motivational call every business day. (For a short time, he switched to doing the call weekly, and it seems nobody liked it.)  The call is at 7:45 AM Pacific time. Register for it here. You'll find instructions on how to join the call on Facebook, Zoom, by phone, or on a recording.

Let's Talk!

What skills and traits do you find to be the most important in leadership? Would you like to share your experience(s) with good or not-so-good leaders? I’d love to hear from you. Reply to this message or click here if you'd like to chat on the phone.

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