Skip to content Skip to Live Chat

What Is Business Leadership?

Nov 7, 2023

Are you looking to hone your leadership skills and make a positive difference in business? Learning about business leadership is the perfect place to start. At its core, successful business leadership creates a vision for an organization and inspires teams to reach that shared vision. It requires knowing how to bring out the best in people so that everyone can work together for success. Whether you are starting up your own company or want to rise through the ranks of your organization, understanding how to be an effective leader can be vital for advancing yourself and helping others achieve their goals. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes and why business leaders should strive for excellence throughout their career journeys.

Qualities of Effective Leaders

Influential leaders in business possess specific qualities that enable them to lead their teams to success. These traits include the following:

  • Self-motivation: Great leaders use a variety of strategies to keep themselves motivated such as setting clear goals, maintaining a positive mindset, and taking regular breaks to avoid burnout. By setting an example for their teams, leaders inspire and motivate their followers to work hard and push themselves to achieve their goals. 
  • Organization: Leaders use organization as a tool to help streamline processes, increase efficiency, and improve team communication. For instance, they create clear structures and guidelines to ensure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. They also use technology to track progress, collect data, and provide feedback.
  • Delegation: Delegation allows leaders to distribute responsibilities among team members according to their strengths and expertise, freeing up their time to focus on key priorities. Delegation also helps to boost morale and foster a sense of ownership and empowerment among employees because they feel trusted and valued by their supervisors.
  • Communication: Valuable leaders build relationships with their team members, share their vision and goals, provide feedback, and solve problems. These leaders listen carefully to their team members, ask questions, and encourage their input. They are also comfortable with using written, verbal, and nonverbal communication so that their messages are clear and easily understood.
  • Responsibility: Leaders use their sense of responsibility to set clear goals for themselves and their team, and they work hard to hold everyone, including themselves, accountable for their actions and contributions. By modeling responsible behavior, leaders can set an example of consistently striving for excellence.
  • Goal setting: Leaders who use goal setting can motivate their team to achieve milestones, sustain momentum, and create a culture of continuous improvement. By implementing this technique correctly, leaders can ensure that their team works toward a common and clearly defined goal.
  • Risk-taking: Effective leaders encourage their teams to explore new ideas and pursue innovative approaches to their work. By taking calculated risks, leaders can discover solutions to problems and gain a competitive advantage in their industry. 
  • Integrity: Leaders recognize that integrity is not just about doing the right thing when someone is watching but means always upholding their principles, even in challenging circumstances. Leaders who model values of ethics and integrity communicate transparently, admit their mistakes, and take responsibility for their actions. 
  • Curiosity: Effective leaders constantly seek new information and are fearless in asking questions. They use their curiosity to spark innovation, uncover new opportunities, and drive creativity. These leaders can better understand the people and issues around them by asking thoughtful questions and actively listening to others. 
  • Interpersonal skills: To achieve goals, leaders must work with their team members productively, communicate clearly, and inspire others to perform at their best. Interpersonal skills such as active listening, empathy, and communication are key to building solid relationships with team members. By developing these skills, effective leaders can foster a culture of trust and respect, creating a positive environment that allows everyone to thrive.
  • Self-awareness: Strong leaders can look honestly at themselves to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. Doing so lets them recognize their motivations and the feelings influencing their decisions. This self-awareness allows leaders to stay grounded, authentic, and resilient, enabling them to make decisions that are aligned with their values and goals. 

Undesirable Traits for Leaders

Strong leadership is a crucial component of success in any industry or organization. However, not all leaders are created equal, and certain traits can be particularly harmful to those who are meant to be leading. Among these negative traits are:

  • Ego-driven personalities
  • A lack of empathy or emotional intelligence
  • Antisocial behavior such as bullying, manipulation, or favoritism
  • A tendency to be overly authoritarian or to micromanage
  • A lack of desire to share credit or praise with team members
  • Not having consistent standards, expectations, or practices for themselves or others

These traits can all lead to a toxic work culture, low morale among team members, and, ultimately, a decrease in productivity and success. Leaders must recognize and work to overcome these harmful traits to foster a positive and effective environment.

Leadership Styles

Leadership is an essential aspect of any organization. How a leader leads can significantly affect their team's success. Several leadership styles exist, each with its unique characteristics and benefits. These include autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, transformational, and situational leadership styles.

Autocratic leaders make decisions without input from their team while democratic leaders value input from everyone in the group. Laissez-faire leaders give their team a greater amount of freedom to make decisions independently, and transformational leaders focus on inspiring their followers to achieve bigger and better things. Situational leaders, meanwhile, adapt their management style to fit the specific needs of their team. Understanding different leadership styles and their benefits can help leaders be more effective.

Examples of Successful Leaders

One name that may come to mind when thinking of successful leaders is Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple. Jobs was known for his innovative and bold ideas, which helped transform the technology industry. He possessed exceptional communication skills and could effectively persuade and lead his team to advance. 

Another example of a successful leader is Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul who built a media empire based on her brand. Winfrey has demonstrated strong leadership qualities such as her ability to inspire others, lead by example, and make difficult decisions when necessary. 

Additionally, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, is another successful leader who has significantly contributed to the e-commerce industry. With his charismatic personality and entrepreneurial mindset, Ma inspires his team to think outside the box and work toward achieving their goals. 

These are just a few successful leaders who have impacted their industries through their excellent communication skills and innovative thinking.

Benefits of Good Leadership 

Effective leadership can have a multitude of benefits for employees a company as a whole, most notably:

Improved Morale

Employees are more likely to be engaged and motivated if they feel their leader cares about them and is interested in helping them succeed. Effective leaders take the time to get to know their employees, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and provide support when needed. This can lead to improved job satisfaction and other positive interpersonal results.

Increased Productivity

Good leaders can also motivate their teams to achieve higher levels of productivity. They do this by setting clear goals, providing feedback on progress, and offering rewards when goals are met. By doing so, leaders can create an environment where employees are likelier to work hard and strive for excellence. 

Enhanced Creativity

Leaders who foster creativity in their team members can help drive innovation within their organization. Creative leaders will encourage open dialogue among team members, allow them to take risks without fear of failure, and provide resources for exploring new ideas. This environment promotes unique ideas, experimentation, and new pathways to solutions.

Improved Communication

Communication is essential for any business or organization to run smoothly; good leaders understand this fact well. They ensure that all team members are updated on important information by regularly communicating with them digitally or in person. Strong leaders also make sure that no one is overlooked. They take the time to listen carefully when team members have something to say so that everyone feels heard and respected.

Increased Teamwork

Good leaders focus on building relationships between teams and individuals by promoting collaboration and cooperation rather than competition. This helps foster trust among team members while encouraging them to work together toward common goals instead of pursuing individual agendas, which could lead to conflict within the group dynamic.

Improved Decision-Making

Effective leadership helps ensure that all voices are heard during the decision-making process. Strong leaders also take a holistic approach to problem-solving. They consider different perspectives from various stakeholders before making any final decisions, exploring all angles for the best possible outcome.

Positive Company Culture

A healthy company culture is one in which employees feel valued for their contributions while being encouraged toward professional and personal growth. This leads to improved job satisfaction among employees, resulting in higher retention rates and fewer turnover costs incurred by hiring new talent.

Building Your Leadership Skills

With a solid foundation in leadership, you can become an invaluable asset to any organization. By earning a leadership certificate from WGU, you are positioning yourself for long-term career success. The courses offered in the program cover topics like communication, ethics, and team building, which are essential for a successful leader. You'll also learn the importance of collaboration and delegating tasks to drive productivity. With the skills you acquire from WGU's leadership certificate program, you'll have a competitive edge in the job market.

Recommended Articles

Take a look at other articles from WGU. Our articles feature information on a wide variety of subjects, written with the help of subject matter experts and researchers who are well-versed in their industries. This allows us to provide articles with interesting, relevant, and accurate information.