Every business needs a strong leader to guide its future, strategy and direction.

However, companies around the world are currently facing a leadership crisis.

According to LinkedIn’s quarterly report of the 2021 Global Leadership Forecast, only 11% of surveyed organizations reported they have a “strong” or “very strong” leadership bench, the lowest it has been in the past 10 years.

So, what makes a great business leader?

1. Solid and clear vision for the company

Every successful business needs a leader with a distinct and strategic vision of where they see the company heading. But it’s about more than just a vision, a leader also needs to have an attainable action plan for getting what needs to be done to get the company to where it needs to be.

A concrete vision allows the company to plan its best course of action to reach its goals and targets. By doing this, the organization can focus more on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of the past.

2. Stable under pressure

In any business, unpredictable situations are inevitable and bound to happen. And during challenging and uncertain times, everyone looks to the leader for reassurance and guidance.

For a leader, what’s important is how they react and perform under the pressure of the unknown. In the heat of things, a leader needs to be able to manage stressful circumstances and work under tight deadlines, all while remaining calm and composed.

3. Effective communicator

Part of successful leadership stems from strong communication skills with internal and external parties. A leader needs to build strong relationships with everyone, including their own team, clients, third parties and even the media.

As a leader, having strong communication skills isn’t just about their ability to speak. Communication is a two-way street and great leaders need to know when to talk and when to just listen instead. This is an important soft skill for a leader to master to truly understand what others are going through and how they feel.

4. Keen appetite for learning

No one knows it all – even the best leaders. A leader should always be willing to learn and do what they can to improve with a humble mindset.

A great leader knows that the strength of their leadership is built on their ability to learn, adapt, change and grow. Having that desire to constantly learn and grow provides them with the determination to succeed.

5. Flexible and can easily adapt

Not everything always goes according to plan, and a leader’s ability to be flexible and react is key. A great leader should be prepared to pause, assess the situation and determine a new course of action, if needed.

And when obstacles arise, a leader is prepared for the unpredictable with a contingency plan, and even uses the dynamic nature of business to their advantage.

While all these skills cannot be learned overnight, an MBA program can help aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs develop and practice these skills.

To learn more about UCW’s MBA program, visit ucanwest.ca/graduate-programs/master-of-business-administration

Published on April 29, 2022.