What personality traits make a good business leader? The question is vague and the answers can be subjective. However, we at MACs Women have compiled a list of 8 traits we think are most important to the success of your business leadership, with some inspirational quotes to go along with them!
Whether you are a small business owner, a businesswoman, or an employee looking for ways to advance your career, having or learning these traits can help you become the leader in business that you aspire to be.
Courage can take many different forms, but in general a leader needs to have enough courage to be a leader in the first place. As a business leader, you need to have the courage to be wrong, the courage to face competition, and the courage to guide others when they need assurance. Without courage, a leader isn’t a leader; they are simply just another person.
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.” - Mary Anne Radmacher
As any leader will experience, things aren’t going to work perfectly the first time you try them. Persistence is an extremely important quality to have because of this. Failure is bound to occur; that’s the way life works. As a business leader, you need to possess the persistence to try again and again (and again, if necessary) until you succeed.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” - Maya Angelou
3. Toughness and Discipline
These two go hand in hand. As a leader in the business world, you are going to get discouraged at some point. The business world can be a tough place, but as a leader you need to be tough and disciplined as well. This doesn’t mean physical toughness (although if that helps you, go for it!) but rather mental stamina and personal discipline. Be able to stand up for yourself, your ideas, and your business and you’ll go far.
“In terms of instilling the values of mental toughness and work ethic, discipline is the gift that keeps on giving.” - William Baldwin
4. Ability to Make a Decision
We make choices and decisions every single day, whether we are aware of them or not – what to wear, what to have for breakfast, how to greet people in the office. But as a business leader, there will be tough decisions to make nearly every day, and sometimes there may not be an obvious choice. As a leader, the decision will often rest on your shoulders alone, so definite intelligent decision-making is a valuable skill to have as a business leader. Once you make a decision, stick with it and be firm - no one likes an indecisive leader.
“When you make the right decision, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.” - Caroline Kennedy
5. Good Listener
Listening skills are one of the most important qualities to have as a business leader. Having the ability to listen to an employee or customer will show people that you truly care about them and their feedback. The relationships you make in the business world can help you succeed, and relationships are made healthier and stronger by listening. Check out our blog post about listening better to learn more about improving your listening skills!
"To learn through listening, practice it naively and actively. Naively means that you listen openly, ready to learn something, as opposed to listening defensively, ready to rebut. Listening actively means you acknowledge what you heard and act accordingly." - Betsy Sanders
Business leadership is not about being the best at your company or in your field. Those who want to be a leader only for fame and respect will not last very long, nor will they be admired. The people you are leading are just as, if not more, competent and intelligent as you, and they will have fresh ideas and new plans for your business. It takes humility to lead smart people, humility to learn from your mistakes, and humility to serve your business. All these things will happen to you as a business leader, and having humility will make you the best leader you can be.
“Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.” - Madeleine L'Engle
Understanding and compassion are essential traits when it comes to being a good business leader. As a leader, you will encounter many different situations and many different people, all with varying stories and backgrounds. Having an understanding nature will help you decode signals, make good judgment, and navigate conflict.
“It takes character and control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie
Passion is the force that drives us to keep going every day. If you don’t have passion for your work and your business, there is nothing to motivate or fulfill you. What’s the point of doing it if you don’t love it?
"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you."
- Oprah Winfrey
We hope you enjoyed reading about the traits we think are the most important for business leaders. Perhaps they will inspire you to become a better leader or to hone your leadership skills!
Do you want to meet lots of successful female business leaders? Sign up now for the annual MACsWomen Summit, taking place in October. You’ll get to network and join the ranks of successful business women!