Are leaders made or born? This is a debate that has been at the forefront of many historical and political events, but nowhere is it more relevant than in the business world. From some of the most innovative leaders like Henry Ford to those who changed the entire face of technology, like Steve Jobs, up-and-coming entrepreneurs often look to these individuals for inspirations, business lessons, and guidance. However, when it comes to being a leader, there are some qualities you can foster that may help you be the best possible as you grow your company.
1. Passion for Your Chosen Sector
While you might believe that intelligence or financial prowess makes a good business leader, having the passion for your enterprise can inspire others to feel that same enthusiasm. When you have a passion for your projects, goals, and brand, this shows others that you are committed to your vision. Passion can encourage investors to offer their resources and keep your employees motivated.
There are several ways you can strengthen your passion as you grow your business, even during tough times. For example, it is important to remember why you started your company in the first place and keep your original goals in sight. This can reignite your enthusiasm and keep you passionate about meeting those objectives, even if they seem difficult at first.
2. Empathy for Others
There is a difference between sympathy and empathy, and understanding what separates them can help you grow as a business leader. Sympathy is easily offered; however, empathy requires you to step outside your own perceptions and see the world through the eyes of others. This can be an important quality to foster, as it may help you step into the shoes of your employees and customers when there is a disagreement or an error is made and understand what you can do to resolve it.
For example, if an employee makes an error because he or she is having personal issue like the death of a family member or some other event that is affecting their work performance, having empathy for that person instead of simply berating them for the error can lead them to open up about the problems they are facing. While you might not be able to help them directly, you can reduce their workload or give them more flexible hours until the crisis passes. Without empathy, it might be difficult for you to relate to and help the people who work for you.
Not all great business leaders found success right away. Animation mogul Walt Disney was a failed journalist in his younger years and his first animation ventures never flourished. However, Disney was patient and tried again, eventually creating one of the world’s most beloved characters, Mickey Mouse, and then went on to international fame by creating Disney Studios. This lesson is a fine example of how patience is a leadership trait that can be learned and cultivated for a better chance of success.
Fostering patience can also give you a more intuitive feel for when the time is right to launch new products and services. Business success is often a matter of good timing, but knowing when to swing for the fences and when to step back can be invaluable.
4. An Ability To Acknowledge Errors
Some of the most successful business leaders today, such as Ashley Furniture CEO Eugene Chrinian, have achieved their positions because they were not afraid to admit past mistakes. Instead, Chrinian and others like him examined their errors and learned from them, whether they tried to launch a new business plan before it was fully formed or focused on the wrong aspect of their chosen career when they first entered the field. Admitting and learning from these errors can make you a wiser leader later on.
It is difficult to say whether leaders are made or born. However, no matter which is true, fostering positive leadership qualities can help you become a more confident and successful entrepreneur.