15 Characteristics and Leadership Styles of Effective Business Leaders

Advance your small business leadership skills and move your team from average to outstanding.

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Becoming an effective leader means having the insight to know when things need to change and the flexibility to implement those changes. If you want to advance your skills and move your team from average to outstanding, it’s important to learn more about effective leadership styles and characteristics.


Characteristics of Effective Leaders

It takes more than great business skills to become a great leader – it takes strength and character. Here are eight key characteristics that effective leaders possess:


  1. Honesty

    To inspire others, leaders need credibility, which comes from being truthful. Being dishonest, even by telling “little white lies,” is a quick way to lose credibility. Emphasize honesty in yourself and your team will follow.

  2. Communication

    Communication is an essential characteristic. Knowing when to speak up, give praise or ask questions is just as important as knowing when to listen to others. The ability to clearly communicate your vision often means the difference between a cohesive team working toward the same goals and a floundering group that accomplishes little.

  3. Confidence

    Even in the toughest situations, leaders demonstrate confidence by keeping calm, solving problems and encouraging others. Team members observe and pick up on this behavior, which can help to build their confidence as well.

  4. Delegation

    Just as your team members want to trust their leader, they also want to be trusted. Effective leaders delegate responsibilities to others, to allow them to learn, grow and shine. Identify your team members’ strengths and delegate accordingly.

  5. Positivity

    Staying positive will motivate your team to produce their best work. Conversely, a grumpy or unenthusiastic leader can have a negative impact on morale, which can lead to lower productivity and higher turnover.

  6. Creativity

    Effective leadership takes creativity. Find new ways to approach issues, solve problems and engage teams.

  7. Inspiration

    Leadership is the ability to inspire others. It’s important to focus on goals, but focusing on people is essential to reaching those goals. Making each person feel invested in the company, encouraging team members to do their best and recognizing their efforts will inspire them to follow your leadership.

  8. Sense of Humor

    A leader’s character is tested when sales volumes slip, profits fall short or goals are not met. A good sense of humor will help keep morale high during tough times and is essential to keeping your team motivated and productive.

  9. Passion

    Leaders rely on passion to sustain them when no one else believes in what they’re doing. Your passion will communicate your vision to the people who will carry it out. It is motivating and helps your team believe in you.

In today’s fast-changing world, teams are looking to their leaders for stability and vision. They need guidance and smart decision-making – especially when an organization faces big challenges and changes. That’s where leadership styles come in.

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