Being a good leader takes a lot more than just the willingness, opportunity, and talent to lead. It takes integrity, people skills, empathy, and vision, backed by sound domain expertise, to inspire and lead by example. And it is a journey marked with challenges and tough choices. Only those emerge victorious, who have the courage and the willingness to rise to the occasion, against all odds. The term that leaders are not born, leaders are made best exemplifies this.
Though different leadership skills are needed at different times, essentially, the core of effective leadership comes from the below-mentioned pointers:
1. Inclusive growth
A leader is made a leader by the people who chose him to lead. And by that very responsibility, a leader’s top priority is to ensure his actions, choices, and decisions reflect an inclusive growth approach. It is important for a leader to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of every member of the team, to create a winning union that can charge ahead towards success. Ensuring each person is acknowledged, valued and his or her long term growth potential and interests are always considered, helps to not only build a close-knit and invested team, but also helps build loyalty towards the leader and the cause/ goal – something that inspires and fuels the will to succeed.
2. Long-term vision
Inclusive growth is the approach and a long term vision helps create a structured methodology to approach, with clearly mapped out milestones for each team member. While most entrepreneurs and business heads start their ventures with a long term vision for their company, over time, after managing daily operations and internal challenges, etc., somewhere lose themselves in the fight for basic survival. Others may become too engrossed or even satisfied with their state of business, getting comfortable with it and losing sight of growth and expansion. This, in turn, creates inertia and lack of motivation, and may eventually even lead to loss of good talent as they seek outside for growth opportunities that are no longer available with the current set up.
3. Focus on core competency
With the increasing competition, several entrepreneurs have diversified their business or have included new services and products, to stay relevant to the consumers. While this is a good strategy, it can often lead to a lack of focus on the core competency. Having started with a focused approach, most companies tend to lose their edge while trying to accommodate or adapt to newer and diversified businesses. With goals and methodological approach to success, it is important to never lose sight of one’s core competencies, which helped create the distinctive business edge in the first place. This could lead to loss of existing customer base, loss of faith by the team in the leader, and eventually, loss of brand credibility. A leader thus needs to indulge in healthy diversification while retaining a clear focus on the core competencies and enhancing them, in the face of the dynamic market scenario.
4. Ability to learn and upgrade skills
Thanks to the consistent innovation in business process and in the market scenario, most businesses in the 21st Century, are suddenly faced with accelerated disruption, forcing leaders to understand and adapt to newer technology processes and methodologies in order to stay relevant. Not keeping up with these changes can mean an eventual failure of the company. While most companies look at skilling and training of staff as an investment burden, if done properly, it has the potential to ensure constant exponential growth but also has the ability to stay ahead of the incumbent competition. An able leader can not only instil the importance of upgrading but also guide of cost-effective ways to do so and eventually highlight the pros and cons while projecting the bigger picture.
5. Keen awareness of the business environment
As vital as all of the above-mentioned qualities are, a leader needs to build a strong awareness about the subtle and defined changes in the business environment, in order to be able to take strategic and well-informed decisions. From staying updated about the industry and completion to having an understanding of the political, social and financial scenario of the market, international trends to other sector-related developments which can impact the business, a leader needs to build a keen understanding of the environment to predict chances of challenges or opportunities in the future. Like a navigator, it is important to always have an eye on the horizon while being aware of the direction of the wind.
Leaders have always been the ones making an impact and creating history. Business leaders and entrepreneurs are the core foundation of any organisation and have the power to control the fate of not just the company but the careers, families and lives of their employees.