What does it take to get to the top in business?
All sorts of people take the plunge into working for themselves but when one looks at those who have built really successful companies, it soon becomes clear that they have certain traits in common.
If you’re an ambitious entrepreneur, these are the traits you should be cultivating in yourself.
Business leaders need to be able to manage a lot of information, keeping track of the full scope of their organizations as they exist in the present and as they want them to in the future.
They need a clear sense of their values, priorities and direction and need to be ready to make every decision with those things in mind.
When you don’t have a boss, only you can decide when to work and how hard. Only you can spur yourself on to get through the tasks you really find off-putting.
If you’re going to lead a team, that starts with disciplining yourself. You will need to be an example and inspiration to others so it’s vital that you apply yourself with diligence and persistence.
A great deal is said about the importance of ruthlessness in business. But no matter how tough you are it’s essential that you’re seen as sticking consistently to your principles.
This is because, in the long term, the most important thing in business is reputation. And if people don’t trust and respect you then you’ll find it a lot harder to do deals with them.
As a business leader, much of what you’ll be required to do is solve problems.
When you’re under pressure to work fast, save money and manage competing priorities, you need to be able to find creative solutions.
You also need to keep innovating from day to day in order to stay ahead of your competitors.
The marketplace is always changing, and entrepreneurs need to be ready to change with it. They cannot afford to become too sentimental or stuck in their ways.
Be prepared to move between roles and even between sectors if this becomes the most practical option. Be ready to restructure your companies to suit the times.
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Effective leadership depends on understanding people, being a good listener and knowing how to motivate your team.
Empathy makes you more likeable, increasing employee loyalty and the lengths to which people are willing to go for you.
It also helps when it comes to negotiating, making deals and building up a positive reputation.
It’s important to believe in yourself and your business. It’s important to be ready to persist when things seem to be going against you.
It’s also important, however, to be realistic.
There are some situations in which you will have to be willing to back down and cut your losses or change your approach. If you don’t have the nerve to do this, you’ll find that trouble tends to escalate.
8. Open mindedness
No matter how good you are at your job, there will be times when you’re not the best person to make a particular decision by yourself, so it’s vital to be open to new ideas.
This becomes increasingly important over time as ways of doing business change and fresh input is needed.
Just because something has worked for a long time doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon.
Succeeding in business requires taking risks. You will need to be willing to do this even when circumstances don’t actually force you to, if you are to expand and take on new opportunities.
You’ll also need to keep yourself and your team motivated when times are tough, and you’ll need to be ready to take on new tasks that you find personally intimidating.
In order to sustain yourself and inspire your team through all of the above, you’ll have to have passion.
It’s only your enthusiasm for your business and its achievements that can carry you forward. This will also encourage others to work for and with you.
When you believe in your organization, other people will also believe in it.
Some businesspeople are lucky enough to be born with these qualities. For the vast majority, they need a bit of work.
Indeed, recognizing that there’s always room for you to improve what you can do is an important quality in itself. Developing your potential as an entrepreneur and developing yourself as a person go hand in hand.
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