10 Top Keys to Leadership – How to Be a Good Business Leader

There is a huge difference between being a good business leader who is capable of getting the job done most of the time, and really standing out as a great leader who has the skills to accomplish all leadership goals no matter what the circumstances may be. If you want to be great rather than mediocre or just good, consider the top 10 keys to leadership. These are universal strengths that every great business leader has, regardless of the type of leadership being carried out.

#1 Versatile Communication

Having great communication skills is an obvious requirement for leading others to business success, but when you have versatile communication skills you are able to adjust your tone of voice, body language, and other aspects of your demeanor to the situation at hand. A good leader is able to communicate with others when they are in cooperation, but a really great business leader can adjust those skills to successfully communicate with literally anyone.

#2 An Open Mind for Innovation

Don’t get too stuck on doing things the way they have always been done, or your own way. A good leader listens to new ideas, but a truly great business leader knows how to take the right innovative ideas and apply them to create the most effective ways to solve problems and create a strong business.

#3 Open Door Policy

This is a combination of having an open mind and establishing great communication skills. It doesn’t matter how open minded you are or how great your communication skills are if everyone you are leading is scared off from coming to talk to you. Good business leaders say they are always open while great leaders make sure everyone knows they can talk to them whenever necessary and then they follow through with that.

#4 Forward Focus

All good leaders are able to manage and keep things under control in the moment, but a really great business leader always has an eye to the future. They are able to tailor what they do today and what they instruct others to do in order to improve the company or make their team stronger in the future.

#5 Consistency with Rules

One aspect of leadership that some people really enjoy is the ability to set the rules and force others to stand behind them. A good business leader is able to set rules which are good for the company or the team, but a really great business leader keeps the rules consistent over time and does not get off on a power trip putting up rules without just cause.

#6 Respectable Consequences

This one goes hand in hand with being consistent and reasonable with rules. A good business leader sets consequences for rules but a really great leader will let everyone know ahead of time what those consequences are and they will make sure punishments are reasonable and understandable. The punishments must be the same for everyone; no playing favorites.

#7 Respect & Care for Others

Without the people on your team, you would have no team. Good business leaders care for others while great leaders know the difference between showing care and being manipulated. You should be able to both show care and concern for others and uphold your rules and stick to the mission of your company as a whole.

#8 Time Management

Many leadership positions require you to make things happen on a very short time limit. This means you need to manage more than just what tasks are handed out to what person. A good leader makes sure all bases are covered and all tasks have been assigned but a great business leader will continually check up on each member of the team to ensure time is being handled effectively and the project is moving along at a nice pace.

#9 Self Confidence & Belief

If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else? Great leaders display an air of unshakeable confidence while good leaders try to fake it.

#10 Personal Integrity

It is one thing for a good leader to understand the integrity of the company and to mold themselves to that model while working, but another thing for a really great business leader to ensure that their personal life exemplifies that integrity as well. In our modern world this means not displaying sexually gratuitous pictures of you while drunk on your MySpace page while trying to convince your professional associates that you are a person of integrity.

It should be clear from this what sets a really great business leader apart from someone just trying to get by with as little work as possible.

Core Competencies of 21st Century Business Leaders

Whether recruiting new leaders or developing existing ones, there are necessary competencies business leaders should have in the 21st century. While leaders can always be adding competencies to their skill set, there are core competencies that for the basis for successful leadership.

It is important for both the organization and the individual leader to be aware of how well the core competencies have been developed and what needs to be done to improve the expansion of these competencies. Core competencies for today’s business leader are as follows:

-The leader understands that leadership is a process and not a style. While it is important how the leader is viewed by his or her followers, it is the positive dynamics the leader sets into action that really matter. If the leader focuses inwardly only on how he or she comes across, then the work that needs to be orchestrated by the leader suffers.

-The leader sees the big picture. Included in that vision is the ability to align the work he or she orchestrates with the goals of the organization and to see how the pieces of work fit together. The leader sets goals for the area overseen and sets into motion the means to achieve those goals.

-Leadership of others requires the competency of collaboration. Included in the collaboration are the abilities to communicate effectively both through presentation and listening skills, work through conflicts to successful resolution, and the ability to influence others both within the area of leadership responsibility and across the organization to other areas and leaders, when coordination and cooperation are needed.

Credibility is another important leadership competency. This means the leader works at developing trust. The leader is known to be trustworthy by keeping his or her word and by following through on important actions that need to be taken. Underlying trustworthiness is ethical behavior that involves not demeaning others or taking advantage of them, or by taking selfish actions that are for the leader’s advantage only.

-The leader understands and can work with different personality styles and cultures. In today’s increasingly diverse workplace, this competency is crucial. It involves respect for others even when differences are present. More importantly, it involves bringing the best out of what each person can contribute, despite the differences.

-The leader works to create a positive work climate. This involves getting members to support the common purpose of the organization. (After all, this is why the organization exists.) It also means fostering teamwork so that the work unit can achieve its output with quality results.

-Balancing task, technology and people, the leader orchestrates the interface of the work that needs to be done with the people who need to do it. This involves constantly improving task processes and incorporating the latest technology integrating the work with people performance.

-The leader is open to change. The leader keeps an eye open for continuous improvement possibilities as well as potential breakthrough innovations. This involves not only the ability to meet threats and challenges with the existing situation, but also openness to opportunities that become apparent.

Decision making ability is a competency needed by all leaders. Sometimes leaders will spend too much time analyzing a situation or become paralyzed in fear of making a wrong decision. Every leader has to realize making decisions involves the potential to make right ones and wrong ones. The important thing is willingness to take decisive steps after acquiring the best information available.

-The leader constantly supports people development. This activity is such an important part of the leadership process. It ties back to the other competencies listed above including creating appositive work climate, trust and the ability to balance task and people performance.

An important exercise for the leader is to rank himself or herself on each of the competencies listed in this article. Ask the question: “As a leader, how strong am I in each of the competencies listed?” Depending on what your answers reveal, formulate a plan for your self -development to increase your skill in each of the leader competencies. By continuously developing these core competencies you will help yourself to be a high quality business leader in the 21st century.

Why Accountants Make Horrible Business Leaders

Peter Drucker wrote: “Leadership is something that must be learned.” So when I say accountants make horrible business leaders, please know that it is primarily their choice–they could be great business leaders if they wanted to put in the work and discipline themselves to develop the key leadership skills. There are basically five areas of learned leadership that I’m going to discuss, each of them critical to being a great business leader.

Before I start, I need to share a couple of qualifying disclaimers. First, many accountants are actually great leaders in other areas of their lives, but fail to be successful leaders in business – which is one of the major angles of this article. Second, please put aside your preconceived ideas of what a great leader is. People of all genders, creeds, religions, political parties, and more can be and are great business leaders, and it often isn’t the smartest person in the room or someone that has one or two very visible perceived leadership attributes. In describing the varieties of effective leadership, Neal A. Maxwell said: “Trying to describe leadership is like having several viewers trying to compare what they see in a kaleidoscope when the mere act of passing the kaleidoscope shakes up the design.”

Leadership Skill 1 – Service

“Life is like a game of tennis–those who serve well seldom lose” (C.S. Lewis). Comparing leadership to life, the same holds true–those who serve others well are very effective leaders. But many accountants fail to apply this principle outside of their department and function. They get along well with their like-minded peers, but they clash with the marketing, sales, and operations departments regularly. Accounting and finance exist to serve the rest of the organization, but all too often they forget that and become too self-interested.

In his book The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle, James C. Hunter powerfully teaches the principles associated with servant leadership. The core of his message is that the leader exists to serve those he or she leads. And many accountants fail to take this attitude towards others around them, especially if they don’t understand debits and credits and can’t reconcile retained earnings to the prior year equity transactions.

If you are feeling a little guilty about this, that’s okay. This is fixable, and it’s about changing your perspective on everyone around you and what you are trying to help them accomplish (notice you’ve got to put your self-interest aside). It will take work and great discipline, but it can be done.

Leadership Skill 2 – Vision

In the same book, Mr. Hunter says that the first job of a leader is to set the vision, or course of direction, for the organization. Then the second and all-consuming job of the leader is to serve. But why do so many accountants lack the ability to have a business vision?

That’s a trick question. They don’t lack the ability, but they usually neglect it. And the reason is that they are usually so buried in the details of their functions that they don’t step back to look at, contemplate, understand, and embrace the bigger picture. If you are an accountant and you want to be a business leader, you have to train yourself to step out of the details and put the entire puzzle of the business together. And here’s the amazing payoff–the best business leaders I’ve seen are the ones that understand the accounting stuff but can apply it to the success of the entire organization.

Leadership Skill 3 – Communication

Yes, accountants are often accused of not being good communicators. The reason–they don’t listen well. In the famous Dilbert cartoon, the Dogbert character once said: “If yours are the only lips moving, a conversation isn’t actually occurring.” And just letting other people talk isn’t enough. It’s got to be sincere, concentrated listening. And if you ever find yourself thinking about what you’re going to say next instead of actually listening to what the other person is saying, then you might be able to improve your communication skills.

One’s ability to communicate effectively is at the core of that person’s ability to build trust. James Hunter wrote: “Empathetic listening is one of the most effective ways to build trust.” In addition, the more accountants can effectively listen, the more they will build trust with others, which is essential to effective business leadership.

Leadership Skill 4 – Organization

While it is perceived that most accountants already have great organization skills, you’d be surprised how many don’t. They are often so focused on the past that they fail to think about and plan for the future. As such, they struggle to gain traction as leaders because leadership is as much about seeing and planning for the future as it is about understanding the past.

In business this can be particularly difficult since the accounting department is usually the last to hear about new strategies and changes in the business. Most accountants carry that frustration but do nothing to fix it. Become a thought-leader in your organization, serve everyone, and you’ll find you become part of those strategic discussions. Your ability to plan and organize the future will increase dramatically, making you an even more effective leader.

Leadership Skill 5 – Synergy

Why do so many accountants struggle to play well with others? Rather than always needing to be right and working feverishly to protect a reputation of flawless accounting prowess, accountants need to let down their guard and realize they will always be better in a synergistic team than left to their sole abilities.

To be effective business leaders, accountants need to work as a team and contribute to the trust of the team through their open communication. Yes, that means when you make a mistake, own up to it and don’t try to bury it or blame it on someone else. Believe it or not, your team will trust more for it.


I realize it may seem like I’m picking on accountants, but these principles really apply to everyone. I know from first-hand experience that accountants have what it takes to be great business leaders. If you’re an accountant, I hope some of the content of this article will help you in your progression to excellent business leadership!

7 Strategies For Becoming an Effective Business Leader

If you are launching yourself in the network marketing business, or any other field, and you want to become recognized as a leader you have to have courage. It is this characteristic that often separates true leaders from the rest of the crowd. If you are interested in becoming an effective business leader,start by understanding what it takes to lead.

Here are my 7 Best Strategies For Becoming an Effective Business Leader

1. Carefully Evaluate Your Team

When you start a team, it is essential to invest both time and energy into its members. You need to be able to evaluate skills, coach weaknesses, as well as boost self-confidence. When you are evaluating you need to make sure that an employee is doing the right job for their skill set. When you coach, you need to point out weaknesses constructively in order to make them stronger. As their leader, you also have to instill a sense of strong self-confidence.

2. Share Your Vision

Sharing the vision you have for your company is essential. By all means, have this vision trickle down to all of your team members. After all, who will carry you to this vision besides your team members? You need to be able to motivate them toward your goals, how so? Well, financial compensation is a great motivator. Induce bonuses, pay and other financial incentives to motivate them to not only work, but to work harder.

3. Set The Tone

As a leader, you will set the tone for your team. If you are upbeat, positive and motivated, your team will reflect this. Too often, work can be hard, this is why staying positive is crucial to your success as a leader. Staying positive will help you push forward, even through the difficulties.

4. Recognize The Effort

Acknowledge the efforts of your team. Don’t be shy about giving credit when its due. A great leader will never be afraid to point out the achievements of his team, nor will he/she sell an idea as their own when it isn’t.

5. Be Fair, Not Popular

You didn’t become the leader so you can be popular. Your duty as leader is to move your team from one point to another. This may mean that you have to make some tough decisions, but it is part of the job.

6. Ask The Right Questions

As the leader, you have to ask questions. Ask all that you can. This will help your team think about a particular situation, task or project in a different way. This will help your team think about all the different scenarios pertaining to the project at hand. Your questions should work as a catalyst for an action plan.

7. Learn From Mistakes

Making mistakes is part of the learning process. As a leader, you need to be able to let your team members make mistakes and learn from them. You also have to know when to take risks and when to listen to your gut. Following your gut accounts for what many on the journey to becoming an effective business leader attest to their success.

Whatever your endeavor may be, internet marketing, network marketing or any other type of marketing – become the leader you want to be by not being afraid of success.