8 Qualities of Outstanding Business Leadership

Good leaders aren’t born; they work tirelessly to accumulate the perfect combination of skills that help them direct groups to greatness. Small business leadershipThrough formal education, self-guided exploration, and general life experience, leaders slowly but surely find the right way to behave to inspire others and accomplish goals.

In the past, it took a lifetime to understand the perfect blend of skills and traits, but today, you can gain insight from great leaders who have done the work for you. If you want to be a leader in business, you must strive to develop for following qualities within yourself:


There is no such thing as an insecure leader. Those in leadership positions who lack confidence cannot be deemed leaders as they typically force others to lead in their place, compel others to make decisions that they are too self-doubting to make. If you lack self-confidence, you must develop it before you strive to become a business leader. Believing in yourself takes time and effort: Recognize your strengths, celebrate your successes, and ignore the doubts and empty criticism.


Many of the qualities on this list are fakable, but the same is not true of experience. No matter how confident a leader is, no matter how creative or upstanding, an inexperienced leader will fall behind fast. Fortunately, experience is easy to earn; it only takes time. You can speed up the acquisition of experience in a few ways: Find a mentor, earn an online MBA from a California school, and hop jobs frequently are just a few options.


There are some leadership positions where creativity is not mandatory, but still it is beneficial. Even middle managers, who do little more than convey messages from the top to the bottom, stand to gain by employing creative approaches to their tasks. Creativity and innovation drive businesses — and society at large — into the future, and it is impossible to separate those who innovate from those who lead. Though it may seem that creativeness is an unlearnable skill, you can boost your creativity: Work in teams with creative people, gain inspiration from competitors and non-competitors, and engage in creative pursuits, like painting or writing.


More and more often, businesses are receiving condemnation for a lack of integrity within leadership. Leaders’ values inform a business’s culture, and because how a business treats its employees and customers is founded on its culture, it is vital that leaders cultivate laudable standards and beliefs. Business ethics is not just a boring course in business school: Learn the basics of business ethics, pay attention to the values of your audience, and develop workplace principles that keep you and your subordinates performing well and behaving appropriately.


In modern workplaces, the term “honesty” is often replaced with the term “transparency” — but in leaders, they amount to the same actions. To earn the respect of their subordinates, leaders cannot dissemble or hide behind a mask; they must remain authentic and direct, telling their workers the truth, even if the truth is frightening. Honesty is among the easiest leadership traits to develop: Simply stop lying and hiding behind vague wording.


Leaders don’t always do what they love, but they must love what they do. Great leaders are so passionate about their work that accomplishing their tasks consumes them, forces them to strive for perfection. Leaders who lack passion quickly lose energy, creativity, and motivation, and often they soon suffer from clinical burnout. It isn’t easy to find passion, but it is possible: Identify which aspects of your job you enjoy and find a position that emphasizes those responsibilities.


A good leader isn’t easily distracted or turned away from his or her goals. Leaders must be able to focus on important tasks while filtering out trivial concerns, or else they will not accomplish the critical activities that keep a business alive. It is easy to be drowned by the small things, so leaders delegate minor responsibilities while they direct their attention to the most important obligations. It isn’t easy to improve your focus, but you can do so through trial and error: Experiment with mediation, music, dietary changes, and focus aids.


In one of the most famous TED talks of all time, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth explains that there is a personality trait, dubbed “grit,” which predicts which individuals will become successful and which will live in mediocrity. To have grit, you must have an amalgamation of qualities, including courage, conscientiousness, follow-through, resilience, and excellence. Fortunately, grit can be increased; unfortunately, like other items on this list, it requires practice, purpose, hope, and time. Still, you can be a great leader — if you want to be one.


About Nate Goodman

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Nathan Goodman is a freelance fiction writer and the author behind The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series. "A terrorist on the loose, a country in panic, and time is running out..." FOR A FREE COPY of book one, visit the author's website.