What Makes a Good Business Leader?

The primary function of a leader in a business enterprise is to a) develop and persuasively convey a vision of what the organization is trying to accomplish, and b) inspire and empower all those who work for the organization to make an optimal contribution to the fulfillment of that vision. The leader must be both inspirational and persuasive.

What Makes a Good Business Leader

The higher the self-esteem of the leader, the more likely it is that he or she can perform that function successfully.  A mind that distrusts itself cannot engender the best in the minds of others.  Nor can a leader inspire the best in others if their primary need, arising from personal insecurities, is to prove themselves right and others wrong.

It is a fallacy to say that a great leader should be ego-less.  A leader needs an ego sufficiently healthy that they feel secure in their status– only then is a leader free to be task- and results-oriented, rather than self-aggrandizing or focused on self-preservation.

Leaders often do not fully recognize the extent to which their character affects virtually every aspect of their organization.  They do not appreciate the extent to which they are role models.  Each action they take and every behavior they demonstrate is noted and absorbed by those around them, consciously or not, and reflected by those they influence throughout the entire organization.  If a leader has unimpeachable integrity, a standard is set that others feel compelled to adhere to.  If a leader treats people with respect – associates, subordinates, customers, suppliers and shareholders alike – that tends to translate into the company culture.

Integrity, trust and character are not peripheral to business but fundamental– which means that a healthy level of self-esteem is also fundamental.  While this truth is relevant at every level for the long-term success of an enterprise, nowhere does it more urgently need to be kept in constant focus than in the office of the CEO, whose job is to set the standard.  CEOs may not usually think of themselves as moral teachers, exemplars, or inspirers – but they are all of these things and should consider themselves as such.