The widely accepted definition of a leader would be someone who inspires the actions of followers. But it is not the end of the line. Being an effective business spearhead is the next step any leader must climb and it takes years and years of practice. The primary reason it takes so long is that effective leadership means being able to master a plethora of skills and implementing them wisely. All these skills come with a challenge and have a unique learning curve behind them. The skills are in actuality more like virtues or codes. It is a long road ahead to gain the desired amount of business experience to help craft the skills one needs to excel in. However, through initiative and learning every day from all the sources available, one can achieve the desired goal.
One of the most important characteristics of becoming an effective business leader is self-awareness. The ability to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. This ability itself is masked under the pretext of an individual personality and is rarely explored. More often, leaders make the mistake, a big one out there is going to great lengths to hide their weaknesses and flaws instead of addressing them openly and going toe-to-toe with it, so that an answer can be discovered. Or worse, they are not even aware of what their weaknesses are. This creates a profound confusion of using the strengths as only a resort to solve any challenge or trouble.
When you are on the path to becoming a great leader, you also need to serve in order to lead. This provides an opportunity to learn for those who are already running a show and you can sit back and obverse how the persons are leading, how they talk when pressure is mounting, how they keep the morals up. Finding a role model that shares common business goals with your own is worth learning from. Persistence and consistency are what will keep you going.
Listening is the skill that only a few have mastered throughout history. The first instinct of humans is jumping the gun to add something to the conversation. But a great leader must do things differently and that is why first hearing the issue, then understanding it is crucial. When an effective leader has a complete grasp on the situation only then the leader speaks, guiding the team to resolve the problem. Listening when mastered will the most valuable asset you can ever have. Suppress the urge to speak outright from the beginning. Let others do their part first.
Treating others on equal footing, no matter the circumstance is a must-have characteristic for an effective leader. When you are leading a great team, it is quite impossible for you to keep an eye on everything for a minute point of view. This is where treating people equally work wonders for you. The fairness in situations creates a sense of trust among the team and they become empowered to deal with the problem without you having to get involved in the situation.
The people of an organization expect their leader to know the answers to the three most significant questions: Where are we going? How are we going to get there? What is my role? People will only follow you when you are able to answers these questions.
The last asset comes to keep all these things intact, integrity. Nobody would listen to a leader who himself has no substance to himself but only keep telling others to do. Leading by an example is what an effective leader should seek rather than words.
Being an effective leader is about standing for something better than yourself.