10 Tips for Being an Effective Business Leader

See also: Critical Thinking Skills

Whether running your own company or employed, effective leadership is critical to a business’ success. A good leader contributes to good staff morale, acquisition and retention of employees, productivity, brand recognition, increased sales, and overall business growth.

However, successful leadership is not based solely on passion. It involves possessing specific skills and qualities including adaptability, assertiveness and intelligence. The good thing is that business leadership can be taught, learned, and practiced.

Leader chairing a meeting in a modern office.

Read on for ten tips to become an effective business leader.

1. Be self-aware

The first step to becoming an effective leader is identifying and acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. Make a list of the qualities you believe to be your most vital assets and use them to bring out the best in you and your employees to benefit your company. Next, write down your weaknesses and develop strategies to help you improve. For instance, you could seek advice from people who inspire you to perfect your imperfections. Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks that other employees could accomplish better and faster.

2. Be humble

Humility is one of the most attractive qualities of a leader in the company. It helps your employees to perceive you as understanding and approachable. Employees do not want to work for someone who is full of themselves. It is beneficial for you, the employees and the company to acknowledge your mistakes and allow your workers to learn from them instead of sweeping them under a rug. Be sure to share the challenges you have faced while running your company and how you overcame them. This helps you to establish a solid team and an excellent business culture.

3. Work alongside your team, not over them

One of the most effective ways to understand your employees and the best way to lead them is by working or doing what they do. To achieve the desired goals in a company like Tiffany Property Investments, you should take some time off your busy schedule and help your employees create blog content or manage social media accounts. You could also speak to your clients about what they love about your services or product and respond to client service requests. By working alongside your team, you will also identify specific aspects of your company you could improve to enable you to achieve your bottom line.

4. Maintain a positive attitude

It can be challenging to stay positive when things are looking bleak or the business is not performing as anticipated. However, if you as a leader appear apathetic and discouraged, your employees will also get uninspired and disheartened, compromising productivity. For this reason, you should strive to remain positive or optimistic regardless of the challenges the company could be facing. A positive attitude makes the workplace more fun and boosts productivity.  Here are tips for maintaining a positive attitude at work:

  1. Smile
  2. Praise accomplishments
  3. Accept ideas from your team members
  4. Greet your coworkers
  5. Encourage your employees
  6. Acknowledge excellent work

5. Resolve conflicts quickly and amicably

You will often experience disagreements and conflicts in the company, and when ignored for an extended period, conflicts compromise employee morale and productivity. For this reason, you should devise strategies to handle conflicts promptly in a way that eliminates tension while turning an obstacle into an opportunity. This involves amping up your negotiation skills. Negotiating effectively can resolve a dispute without making the conflicting parties feel like they have won or lost. Instead, the employees learn from the conflicts and use the fair conflict outcome to build better strategies and relationships.

6. Give your staff direct feedback

Be sure to give your employees honest and direct feedback regularly to guide them into the right direction. When your team does not know how you perceive them and their work, they will do little to improve, meaning the company will not achieve optimal results. However, ensure that you clearly understand where your company is headed when giving feedback to provide the right advice.

Additionally, don’t limit employee feedback to criticism. Be sure to also highlight your team's accomplishments and celebrate wins.  This does not only boost morale. By outlining how an employee’s success impacts the company, you will enable them to work better, improving their productivity.

7. Request feedback on your leadership

It can be challenging to be objective during a self-assessment of your leadership approach and style. Consider asking your staff, mentors, and fellow professionals for feedback to get a perspective on your leadership and evaluate your effectiveness. Leadership coaching is also an invaluable strategy to determine leadership aspects that require improvement.  By getting feedback, you can get helpful insights into what methods are working and those that are not, and the obstacles you should overcome to get desired results.

8. Communicate effectively

Maintaining open lines of communication is critical to effective leadership and company success. Be sure to identify your team's preferred communication style to create messages tailored to your audience to ensure that it is understood. Be sure to also master your verbal and non-verbal communication cues to set the pace of how you expect your staff to communicate. Here are more tips to ensure open and straightforward communication within your company:

  1. Develop clear expectations and goals before starting a project
  2. Encourage your staff to share information and ask questions
  3. Speak to your team individually
  4. Involve employees in decision making
  5. Practice active listening

9. Keep learning

An effective business leader does not stop learning. By striving to learn more, you will motivate your employees to do the same, expanding your team’s potential. Be sure to constantly monitor the market and the industry to determine strategies and trends that can help your company advance. You could also enroll in online career classes and attend seminars and conferences to enable your company to remain competitive and relevant.

10. Lead by example

Start leading your team by example. Be the first one to get to work and the last to leave. Demonstrate trustworthiness, integrity, honesty, responsiveness, and responsibility. This creates a base from which the company’s culture emerges and you will soon see your staff adopting the traits.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.


Becoming an effective business leader requires dedication, hard work, patience and strategic planning. Although some people are natural leaders, by being self-aware, humble, communicating effectively, asking and giving feedback, staying positive, leading by example, learning continually and working alongside your team, you can lead your staff to success.

About the Author

Ronica Samuel: I began writing as a professional on my personal blog and then discovered my true calling, which is writing about technology, news and gadgets in general. I have been a technical writer, author, and blogger since 2010. I am an industry watcher who stays on top of the latest features and am extremely passionate about juicy tech news and anything related to gadgets.