THE BLOG

The Impact of Leadership on Business Success

03/09/2015 04:43 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2015

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When it comes to achieving business success, most people think it is mostly because of the strategy that the business comes up with. Strategy is one part of a whole range of reasons but not the only reason for success.

There are a lot of things that amount to the success of an organization, and leadership without a doubt is one of the main reasons for this success.

We've all had bosses who seem to style themselves on military leaders, however treating the workplace as a battleground is something which few respond well to. Leaders need to take tough decisions and act quickly, but that shouldn't instil a culture of fear amongst employees. Mistakes are part of an individual's growth, as well as a company's.

It may sound like a paradox, but a great leader isn't someone who leads. It's someone other people want to follow. This isn't a matter of personal star power, luck, or ambition.

"We sometimes think great Leadership requires great charisma, and although that certainly helps to sell a story, it is not enough, or even essential. At a very basic level a great Leader clearly articulates what is required, and then does what they say they will do.

It is so simple, yet so frequently ignored. If you want to Lead, if you want people to follow you, they have to see that you will do what you say you will do." Catherine Cahill, Worksense Solutions

Whilst there are many quality traits required to be a good leader, in studying and modelling some of the greatest leaders over the past couple of years I've realized there are 4 which are most common across the board regardless of age, location or company size.

1) Character

A good leader has an exemplary character. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honestly and integrity. A good leader "walks the talk" and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others. True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads.

2) Communicate

Likewise, if you want your company to reach new benchmarks of achievement, you must master the art of clear communication. In order to communicate directives which will drive results, you have to really hear your employees. Leaders respond to questions, address concerns, and above all, listen with empathy.

3) Direction

Having the vision to break out of the norm and aim for great things --then the wherewithal to set the steps necessary to get there-- is an essential characteristic of good leadership. By seeing what can be and managing the goals on how to get there, a good leader can create impressive change.

4) Optimistic

The very best leaders are source of positive energy. They are intrinsically helpful and genuinely concerned for other people's welfare. They always seem to have a solution and always know what to say to inspire and reassure. They avoid personal criticism and pessimistic thinking, and look for ways to gain consensus and get people to work together efficiently and effectively as a team.

5) Honesty

Strong leaders treat people how they want to be treated. They are extremely ethical and believe that honesty, effort, and reliability form the foundation of success. They embody these values so overtly that no employee doubts their integrity for a minute. They share information openly and avoid spin control.

"Good leadership is about mentoring, guiding, coaching and leading from behind. In doing so you give people the opportunity to develop, innovate and contribute to the success of the overall organisation.

Great leadership is where you listen but still give people a chance to have a voice, and by doing so, you will not only make them feel valued, but they may offer ideas that you had never thought of." Chantel Cleminson, Director of Mentors Insync.

Of course, there are several other theories about leadership and leadership styles where different skills come into play. But no matter what your approach, if you display the traits listed above you will be well equipped to lead a team more successfully.

Interested to know, what's one common trait you've seen in great leaders?