What Is a Leader and Must I Be One to Succeed in Business?

What is a Leader

What is a Leader?

A leader is an individual who directs a group, company, country, or state of affairs. A strong business leader sets goals and facilitates people to collaborate and feel excited to achieve them. The definition of a business leader varies depending on which audience and organization type you choose to consider; however, all share a common theme. Leading people towards a common goal is a leader’s core role. 


The Role Leaders Play in a Business’s Success 

There are several reasons it is essential to be a leader to succeed in business; the most prominent are below. The first step is deciding which leadership philosophy is most important to you. 

  • Provide Vision and Direction 

Firstly, no organization, group, or ideology can survive without a vision or direction; it is the leader’s responsibility to create them. Every business, big or small, needs a compelling vision and purpose. It serves as the guiding light for employees, and leaders must consider it when establishing the direction for the organization’s progress.

Without direction, people are likely to operate in chaos, often losing sight of the end goal when they get caught up in routine operations. People tend to fall back on disruptive behaviors like blame, office politics, and lack of motivation without a person who unifies and cuts out the noise that inhibits the practical completion of goals and outcomes. Lack of focus is often the outcome in organizations with incompetent leaders who cannot cope with business needs and fail to look at the bigger picture. 

  • Serve as the Core Source of Inspiration

An HBR article by Scott Barry Kaufman, scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, explains why inspiration is at the heart of productivity and can come from ideas and people. A business needs motivated employees to achieve its projected success; money will only get the management so far.

 A business needs motivated employees to achieve its projected success; money will only get the management so far.

People need a system that inspires them to do more and explore the depths of their potential. Such a system can only exist when leaders push people through words and actions, instilling aspirations. The goal is to understand team members and inspire them to grow personally and professionally.

  • Establish and Improve Communication Channels

Communication is at the heart of operational and business success, and it is the leader’s responsibility to establish necessary channels. Communication is essential for developing inter and intra-team relationships and improving productivity for tasks that require teamwork.

Additionally, modern organizations know the connection between diversity and creativity and do their best to be more inclusive during recruitment. However, simply hiring a diverse team is not enough. Diversity is a source of inspiration but can also become a base for conflict.

The leader must establish a respectful organizational culture and inclusive policies encouraging empathy and acceptance. It would be impossible for a business to successfully retain diverse teams without people taking the responsibility to ensure people respect each other’s differences. 

  • Create a Business Identity

Leadership is central to providing direction and inspiration, but it doesn’t stop there. Leaders are the ones who establish the business identity after critical brainstorming with their teams. This identity sets the business apart from its competitors and gives it its unique image and purpose.

Leaders often revisit this identity periodically to ensure old, and new employees know and remember.

  • Train Future Leaders

Training future leaders is the top responsibility of existing leaders because it affects the future of the business. As evident from the content shared above, leaders are critical for business success, and it is crucial to get the best possible ones for the best results.

The best solution is to mentor and train team members with the best potential for taking over leadership responsibilities when it is time for you to move on. An organization that successfully fosters and retains future leaders often has the highest potential among its competitors.

How Poor Leaders Affect Progress

There are two ways of understanding why leaders are critical for business success:

  • The effect of good leadership on an organization
  • The impact of no or poor leadership in an organization

We have covered good leadership in the content above, so it is time to address lousy leadership. Learn more about specific leadership mistakes in my article Three Leadership Mistakes That Can Make or Break a CEO.  Three of the many negative effects of poor leadership are outlined below. 

  • Reduces Employee Motivation

Lousy leadership can lead to high turnover. Poor or no leadership leaves employees disgruntled and without the required inspiration to explore their potential. People usually only remain in such jobs out of desperation rather than loyalty and go when an opportunity arises.

  • Creates Distrust

Communication skills are critical for leadership because they help establish trust and bonding between team members. Incompetent leaders often fail at effective communication and transparency, creating a general culture of distrust in the business.

They are also reluctant to train or mentor people with potential out of fear of getting replaced, which feeds the distrust further.

  • Operates without Specific Vision

Losing sight of the big picture and becoming overwhelmed with routine operations is another sign of poor leadership. In this case, the organization gets stuck in a vicious cycle of stagnancy, failing to innovate or grow.


Final Thoughts

You must be a leader to make your business successful, and getting the proper training is the best solution. You will also need to learn about leadership styles and adopt a flexible approach to ensure you switch between them as the situation requires.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and encourage you to see my other posts for more information about leadership.

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