What skills makes a great leader

What makes a great leader in business?

Excellent leadership skills are highly sought-after, because behind every successful business is a great leader. And those with such qualities are not restricted to work in the sectors they currently operate in, because leadership skills are transferrable and can be deployed successfully across all industries.

Conversely, without effective leadership, a business is much like a ship without a rudder, it has no direction or control over where it is going and is powerless to react to any external forces. In fact, it has been said that, without strong leadership, all other elements of a business are rendered ineffective.

Ok, so it’s all well and good knowing the importance leadership plays in business but what does it take to be a great leader?

Being a great leader is a complex task and requires a combination of several diverse skills, personal traits and in most cases, years of experience. Although there are several different leadership styles, here are some of the key skills and attributes that are relevant for all.

Steers the business towards its objectives

In the everyday running of a business there may be many distractions and obstacles that need to be overcome. A great leader has the vision to see through these and no matter how big the immediate problem is they never lose sight of the main objective and long term goals of a company. In essence, they are always looking at the bigger picture.

Motivates employees

Talented leaders have the ability to motivate staff at all levels in order to achieve the goals of a business. They can get the most out of their employees regardless of the situation, whether the business is struggling through difficult challenges or enjoying a period of growth. There are several different motivational methods that can be used to achieve this but regardless of the method, the outcome is always the same.

Makes key decisions

A crucial role for effective leaders is decision making. Staff will expect them to do so, and this can include setting out who will perform what tasks, completion dates for the tasks and by what means this will be achievable. They basically need to utilise resources to fit the needs of the business at that particular time. Planning to deliver specific goals and objectives is integral to success and leaders must be able to act fast in the ever changing world of business.


Delegates responsibilities

Delegation is essential for the successful operation of any business. Directors have a big enough workload running their business and every minute of their day needs to be used efficiently. Delegation frees up their time to do just that and this has the added bonus of instilling a sense of pride in those trusted with the delegated duties, which motivates them. There is, however, a fine balance between delegating too much work and not enough, great leaders get this balance just right.

Invests in staff

A strong leader realises how important their employees are and invests in them through training. By offering opportunities for development through training they learn new skills, which empowers them and strengthens the business. This is great for team morale and motivation.

Excellent communicators

Devising a strategy is an intrinsic part of the role of a leader, but a good leader guides and supports their business through periods of operational and strategic change. This calls for exceptional communication and management skills to minimise uncertainty, reduce resistance and reassure staff during challenging times.


Provides Guidance

Leaders show employees how to perform their duties efficiently and effectively and are available to offer support as their team evolves. This purposeful guidance helps the employees and the business by optimising performance.

There are other skills and traits that great leaders possess, including agility and resilience, and these two in particular have taken on even greater importance during the past year. 

To find out more about leadership, please click here.