The seven most important leadership characteristics: Guest post by Michael Stephenson

Check out this week’s guest post by Michael Stephenson about which leadership characteristics are most important in today’s world and how we can continually improve our skills as we become better leaders.  If you are a leader looking to expand your impact on those you lead, this article is a must read!  Thank you, Michael, for returning for your second guest post on this blog! Let’s dive in…

Become a Better Business Owner by Leveling-up These Characteristics

While you may be a good business leader now, there is always room for improvement. Most leaders possess specific characteristics that help them become more competent in their positions and aware of their shortcomings. In this article, I will review what I believe to be the 7 most critical leadership characteristics.

Being a Strong Communicator

By possessing excellent communication skills, people understand your expectations. Solid communication also keeps everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction and aiming at the same target. Good business leaders also understand that different people have different communication styles and work to meet everyone’s unique needs. 

Being Innovative

According to Jeffrey Baumgartner, author of The Way of the Innovation Master, being an innovative leader means identifying great ideas, not necessarily creating new ideas themselves. Leaders focus on new concepts and determine the steps necessary to make them a reality.

The Ability to Delegate

Leaders recognize when they should hand off tasks to others rather than take on too much themselves. Making the most of delegation means possessing the ability to identify employees’ skills and traits that make them the perfect match for specific tasks and then the willingness to hand those tasks off.

Not only does delegation make a leader’s life easier, but the willingness to delegate also allows employees to shine and put their abilities to the test. They may also have the chance to learn something new and improve their professional capabilities.


If employees or teams grow discouraged, leaders must be the ones to keep the faith and keep everyone moving forward. It could take longer than expected to reach a specific goal, and leaders must be the ones to refuel their team to power through to the next step.


When something goes wrong, great business leaders take accountability for shortcomings. It’s easy to blame someone for dropping the ball, but the issue could be that the leader didn’t communicate clearly or failed to make sure an employee was ready to take on specific responsibilities.


Great leaders encourage employees to work together toward a shared goal. Working in teams gives employees the opportunity to work on their professional skills and collaborate. Employees may also benefit from having a chance to flex their leadership muscles within a team. 

Strengthening Your Leadership Skills

Even after you possess the above leadership skills, you should always be looking for opportunities to strengthen your skills whenever possible. One way to improve is by going to school or finding new ways to learn something new. An online business degree program or course could broaden your horizons and understanding of specific leadership skills. You may have the chance to meet other business leaders who can teach you even more than what you learn in the classroom.

By enrolling in a distance learning program, you learn at your own pace, and you could save some money. Explore degree program opportunities focused on topics like marketing, leadership, and business management.

Another alternative way to refine your leadership skills is to learn how to follow rather than lead. People may disagree with a specific approach, have their ideas of how to handle a situation, or question a leader’s decisions. Rather than push back, business leaders should look at the situation as a learning experience and a chance to improve themselves. Others may have perspectives, ideas, or approaches the leader did not consider. Stepping aside and letting someone take the reins or offer input could yield better results.

Never settle with your leadership traits, skills, or acumen. Constant improvement helps defeat stagnation and boredom and makes you a better person in and out of the office.

By: Michael Stephenson

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