When you think of great business leaders, there are some figureheads that stand out. One of the most obvious examples being Steve Jobs and the style he used to develop one of the most successful technology businesses in history. Or some local inspiration can be gained from the controversial Brian Souter and his style of leadership at the Stagecoach Group which has even resulted in several personal accolades including a knighthood.
It’s clear that all great business leaders have a set of qualities which they utilise to create a hugely successful business.
Being a figure head
Being a leader is all about being the focal point of the company. You cannot think of Virgin without thinking about Richard Branson and even to this day, Microsoft without Bill Gates. You will take the praise and the blame for all tasks and smile through them both. Successful leaders are seen out of their office and are knowledgeable about every aspect of their company.
Great leaders find a way to surround themselves with people who offer a different opinion of their own. A company full of 'Yes Men' very rarely succeeds, but in a company where the leaders are prepared and willing to listen to differing views, a better product is often produced.
Thirty years ago, companies were very hierarchical. The bosses were on the top floor and an employee would have to work their way up the levels before they could talk to the boss. This is not true of successful leaders and companies today. Flat organisations allow everyone from the cleaners and manual labourers, to the high-flying execs access to the decision makers. Every business leader needs to be available to every worker within their organisation.
Creating an innovative culture
Learning how to copy a product and slightly improve it, is not a great business model. Therefore asking your employees to be the same as everyone else but with small improvements is not going to create a world-leading business. Allow your employees to be innovative and to think for themselves, sometimes the toughest problems can be solved by sitting back in the chair and daydreaming for five minutes.
Being prepared to make mistakes
Everyone goes wrong and fails at some point in their life and businesses are no different. It is how you react to the failures that determine if you are a success or not. When Coca-Cola changed their recipe, the company did not implode. The bosses accepted the failures and made sure that they learnt from these mistakes.
A great business leader will have signs of all five of these qualities. They might be really strong in one and have a weaker ability in another, but they will be able to utilise all five of these characteristics when it is truly needed.
Would you agree with the above? Are there any others we’ve missed?