Top 7 Leadership Skills for Business Success

In any business, exceptional leadership skills are needed in order to succeed. Whether you own the business, manage it or are an employee looking to make his or her way up the corporate ladder, the right leadership style is essential in order to reach your goals.

It can be said without argument that well-honed leadership skills are the most important component of being a success in the business world.

Below are seven leadership rules to live by that will help you reap the rewards of contributing to your business or company effectively in the 21st Century.


As a leader, adaptability means reacting in an effective manner to shifting circumstances in your business environment. Everybody experiences adaptive challenges, but leaders are keen to resolve these issues with a carefully thought-out plan of action.

If there is one trait that every business leader needs most in today’s business environment, it is adaptability.

If adaptability is not your strongest asset, then hone your skills by:

  • Learning to accept difference as just that – difference, not a problem;
  • Developing ways to anticipate problems and prepare backup plans to effectively cope with those problems;
  • Keeping an open mind and committing yourself to learning constantly, learning quickly and reacting accordingly;
  • Adopting an approach of flexibility when faced with any situations that require adaptability.

Remember that if you design your work style around a plan that provides plenty of adaptability, you will be able to provide better support and leadership to your team or company.

You’ll also be the person that others turn to for guidance when things change or an unexpected crisis arises. Lead by example – if you show them that you are adaptable, open-minded and flexible you’ll discover more opportunities opening up for you.

People Skills

Experts classify people skills as a term to indicate four sets of skills:

  • The ability to observe people in your business. This gives you the insight needed to take the appropriate action required for the right result;
  • The ability to communicate effectively. Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to get ideas across to a group of people when attempting to make the right decision or reach a solution. A leader should be able to listen and communicate effectively to everyone – not just some people – in order to be productive;
  • The ability to motivate gives you the leadership edge to get the best out of those who work for you or with you;
  • And as previously mentioned, adaptability.

Developing better people skills, specifically in the four areas highlighted above, helps you attain your business objectives much faster by working more productively with today’s very knowledgeable generation X and Y workforce.

It is about genuinely connecting with those you work with and who work for you. When you connect well with others, you develop a trusting, productive relationship that benefits everyone.

Self Awareness

Leaders who are aware of how they’re perceived by others or how they impact the behavior of others are more likely to succeed than those who aren’t self aware. Most of us are guilty of believing we are better than we really are because of intent.

Unfortunately, living our lives on intent and assuming others can read our minds or instinctively understand us can be a recipe for disaster.

Others can only judge us based on our behaviors, which can often lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication. You can not, as a leader, assume that everyone around you instinctively understands the “how and why” behind what you do.

You need to practice self awareness in order to establish a more positive working relationship with your employees and coworkers.

Identify your personal strengths and weaknesses and then determine what you need to do to overcome them, whether it is explaining things more clearly, being more willing to compromise or developing better team-building skills.

Remember, even if you don’t see your flaws, those around you do. If you are self-aware, people will see that you are making the effort to overcome your faults – a very important trait of a great leader.


Decisiveness is an exercise in good judgment, affording well-informed, fast and sound decisions when needed from a leader, but it is not to be confused with inflexibility.

It’s often conspicuous, which sometimes makes it difficult for leaders to enforce their decisions comfortably. Everyone has some degree of fear of being liable for a conspicuous, albeit incorrect, decision.

However, the alternative is worse. Even though you are less conspicuous if you remain indecisive, the chances of facing more tragic consequences are higher – and will be remembered by others much longer.

Decisiveness is an important rule in leadership – the decisions you are willing to make will have a direct impact on how you’re accepted as a leader. Deciding by going with your gut feeling or intuition wouldn’t hurt either.


Every business needs a vision to set its direction and every successful leader can tune into that vision to achieve success. Business books of yesteryears clearly advocate businesses using vision as a resource, but having a vision in the 21st Century may not be enough for today’s leaders.

What may be more advantageous today is the ability to own a strong sense of purpose and the ability to convey this purposefulness to your employees and coworkers.

Purposefulness can be more powerful than a vision because it shares the ambition of growing your business with others. Understanding what the real purpose behind the vision is will inspire others.

Collaborative Skills

Technology has opened up new avenues for communicating and working in today’s work force. Today’s business environment benefits greatly from a culture of collaboration within your business and across all departments, both internally and externally. The Internet makes this extremely easy to do at a very low cost.

Collaboration is a technique that can quickly add to your bottom line if you’re able to develop a system where everyone can play their part in contributing ideas or increasing sales.

Innovate And Execute

Another advantage of inculcating a culture of collaboration is the constant exchange of innovative ideas within your organization.

To be a great leader, become the person that everyone approaches when they have a new idea or innovative approach to a problem. Leadership means understanding that you don’t have to come up with ideas yourself – you can also nurture growth and innovation in others that will benefit everyone.