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All great business leaders have these 4 qualities

Leadership doesn’t come naturally to every business owner. Maybe you started as a one-person operation with no idea you’d expand your company to a team. Or, maybe you began your business alongside fairly independent employees whose need for leadership was minimal.

Over time, your company grew in addition to your need for employees, potentially. Or maybe your employee’s need for a leader changed. Whether you have a manager or a manager, there’s still a difference between management and leadership.

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These differences lie in the top traits needed for business leaders to manage successfully, own, and operate a company. For small businesses, owners often tend to lead, manage, and operate the business. If you’re unsure what, top traits define leaders in business, read more to discover if you’re already on your way to strong leadership.

Be accountable

Strong leaders hold themselves and their team accountable. There are many ways to employ accountability measures for your business. What you use to assess performance depends on your priorities as a business owner.

Some companies are far more interested in revenue generation than nurturing relationships. If your company culture is all about financial results, find ways to incentivize your people. You don’t have to invest in team bonding if you want a competitive atmosphere.

At the same time, consider nurturing relationships with your staff, so you’re aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your company. If you lack awareness about your employees as individuals, it’s harder to keep them accountable. Personal connections motivate and inspire your people to try more. A good leader leverages these feelings to inspire trust and loyalty.

If you’re self-aware, you’ll also know when it’s time to keep yourself accountable as a leader. If you’re not showing up to support your people, they’ll notice. Make sure you take measures to track your role and responsibilities, too.

Be communicative

One of the best ways leaders in business keep their companies running smoothly is through strong communication. If you want to keep people accountable, on track, and productive, you have to talk to them. And you shouldn’t be checking in only during a formal annual performance review, either.

If employees are expected to meet goals, they need clear expectations communicated to them. Strong leadership sets transparent standards and creates a space for people to ask questions. If you hope employees walk in your door with issues and concerns, you have to state as such.

You can’t expect people to read your mind, so make sure you solicit feedback, too. Informal check-ins with employees are essential. They show you care about your people beyond profit, no matter the workplace culture. Plus, satisfied employees stay longer, are more loyal and productive, too.

Employees are likely to exceed expectations when they feel supported, too. Instead of worrying about meeting performance goals, you might have to start worrying about expansion potential. Loyal employees hold themselves accountable because they care about their work.

Be supportive

The surest way to communicate your expectations for performance and accountability is through positive support. Unsupported workplaces use negative reinforcement to pressure performance and results. More often, these companies care about profit margins over relationships.

Negative support generates results, sure, but out of fear. And using fear tactics is the hallmark of a bad leader. Hopefully, you haven’t hit this point in running your business. Sometimes, even good leaders are pushed to this point when they hit crisis mode.

Creating a fair workplace is simple. Expressing appreciation, gratitude, and showing a little empathy goes a long way in building positive support. Holding employees accountable is easier, too, since they’re more likely to be honest with a leader they trust.

Addressing needs prevents burnout and encourages further effort. It’s easier to innovate and create when people feel supported. No matter how small the win, encourage your people to celebrate. Expressing gratitude goes a long way to build trust and loyalty, boosting your overall employee satisfaction and performance.

Be strategic

Strategic business leaders are decisive and innovative. They understand how short-term decisions impact the future. They also see the benefit of challenges as potential growth opportunities.

Cultivating a strategic mindset requires the same self-awareness vital to holding yourself accountable as a business owner and leader. You can’t plan if you’re constantly leading in crisis mode or five seconds away from burning out. Taking a moment to check your mindset can help your communication and supportiveness, too.

Looking ahead at your business’s future depends on what you can envision. If your team feels supported and loyal to your company, they can help build your vision, making it a reality. A clear strategic focus requires consistently expressed goals and expectations, too.

Leaders in business develop their skills

Any business owner feels the demands of leading their future growth. Building this growth potential isn’t about what you can or can’t do but a willingness to learn. If you feel you lack these traits, that means you’ve already taken the hardest step: self-examination and honesty.

Knowing your weaknesses means you know where you need to grow. Don’t be afraid to find tools and resources to develop your leadership skills or master your mindset. The more you push yourself as a leader, the more your company can grow, too.

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