Some are natural-born leaders. They had that spark as a child, and they seem to fit into leadership positions throughout their lives naturally. Never look at a natural-born leader, however, as someone to whom leadership is innate. They might have been more outgoing as a child, but they have been practicing and tweaking their leadership skills and approach for years. At the end of the day, leadership is not something you are born with. It is something you teach yourself, which is why everyone – even those who were shy as children – can become an excellent leader.
The Traits that Make a Good Leader
Traits or soft skills are imperative to good leadership. These traits, despite common belief, are not inherent in anyone’s personality. While some may be more empathetic than others, that does not mean you cannot learn empathy or work to become more empathetic yourself. Similarly, just because some people have natural enthusiasm that works to inspire others without too much thought does not mean that you yourself cannot learn to do the same.
Here are just a few of the traits that make a great leader:
If you notice, these are traits that make people like someone. They are also traits that we commonly admire in others. While there are many kinds of leadership, and a tough-love kind of leadership can also be effective, the best results are found when people admire the person they are following. If you can earn that admiration by setting yourself as an example, you are already well on your way.
The Skills that Make a Good Leader
Then there are the harder skills. Hard skills are closely tied with knowledge. Learning economics, management, finance, and marketing can improve the skills that you will need to be a good business leader.
Here are just a few skills that make for a great leader.
- The ability to see the best in people
- The ability to see how to help others improve
- The ability to make decisive decisions
- The ability to inspire others
- The ability to manage a team to bring out everyone’s strengths
- The ability to make smart business decisions
- The ability to innovate
- The ability to personally improve
To learn these skills, you need to both improve your emotional intelligence and your business intelligence. Many business degrees focus on these skills, so are therefore a great place to get started.
How to Become a Better Leader
There are a few ways that you can learn to become a better leader. The best results are found when you use all of them, and remember that becoming a great leader is an ongoing process with no destination.
- Earn a Business Administration Degree
Leadership isn’t just charisma, and it isn’t just people management, especially not in the business world. While you may be able to learn to be a natural leader with your friend group, that leadership style can still fall flat when you try to apply it in a business capacity. Why? Because the skills and knowledge you need in the business world are just as critical as your ability to lead. Online colleges business management combine skillsets like communication with finance, economics, marketing, and management so that you have the whole package.
Being able to lead people, and being able to lead a business, are related but very different from one another. A business degree can help you build up the skills and know-how you need for both.
- Put Yourself in Leadership Positions
You cannot become a leader without being a leader. Volunteer for leadership positions, even if you aren’t necessarily the #1 person in charge. Taking on more responsibilities, especially in roles that have you overseeing others, is the best way to put everything you learn into action. With this, you will find the best results by analyzing your results and using trial and error to discover your individual leadership style.
Always Be Willing to Learn
We as a species are continuously learning how to treat each other better. By being open to learning, you can adapt and roll with the punches as they come. There will very likely come a time where you find out that something you have been doing, or thinking, has been detrimental to your career, to your business, or to someone else. By being open to learning and relearning, you can innovate and adapt. This can apply to yourself or to your business.