The Skills You Need to Succeed as a Business Leader


Effective leadership skills are essential if a business is to succeed. If a business is led by business leaders who do not possess the correct leadership skills, then the business is likely flounder and fail in the long-term. Whether you are a seasoned business leader wanting to build on your existing skill set or a professional looking to land their first leadership role, here are the skills you need to succeed as well as tips on how to achieve them. 

Critical Thinking

You will need to know how to problem solve if you are to lead a business to success. This is a challenging skill to achieve and it can take a lot of practice and analyzing. However, a successful leader must make a lot of high-risk decisions. 

As a business leader you need to be highly analytical, assess risks and be able to firmly stand by your decisions. Each decision you make should be well-researched and the outcomes must be well-assessed. You will want to improve your critical thinking skills if you are wishing to become one of the best and most successful business leaders. However, you will also want to possess strong communication skills so that you can easily and clearly communicate the reasons behind the course of action you suggest the business should take. 

Relationship Building

It is wise to build relationships with your employers, employees and team members. By doing this, you are likely to build morale and motivate your team more effectively. And we all know that a motivated team is a more productive one and will therefore produce better results.

You are more likely to be well respected as a good leader, trusted, listened to and produce better results if you: 

  1. Listen to your team members
  2. Are more personal during meetings
  3. Acknowledge good work
  4. Organize team building activities
  5. Provide a career advancement plan
  6. Support a work-life balance


You need to be committed your job and role as a business leader. Now, this does not necessarily mean you need to work late every night. Rather, it means you need to stay committed to each task you start and see it to the end (whether it is successful or not). This means that if you set a business goal, you need to see it through and keep everyone (including yourself) on track. If your team members see how committed you are, they are likely to follow in your footsteps.


The world can change in an instant. What was once effective might not be in a matter of days, and therefore, as a business leader, you need to be able to react and adapt sensibly when faced with such circumstances. Critical thinking is essential when it comes to adaptability. As a leader, you are expected to problem solve, assess risks and potential outcomes and create a solid plan of action (all while keeping a cool head).


Collaborating and creating a collaborative environment is a great way to nurture growth within a business, and as a business leader, it is your responsibility to ensure your team can bounce ideas off each other and thrive from one another’s ideas. 

Technology is a great way for team members to collaborate. Your workplace could benefit from platforms such as Slack so that employees (and yourself) can start a thread asking for ideas and solutions to problems. However, do not forget the benefits of face-to-face meetings!

How to Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you’re looking to improve your leadership skills, here are some ways to go about it:

Return to Education

You never stop learning, especially when it comes to the world of business. You can strengthen your ability to solve complicated business problems and improve critical thinking skills by furthering your education. For example, consider enrolling in a DBA online program that is designed for business professionals looking to build on their existing skillset. Such executive DBA programs focus on understanding business management and leadership with a focus on applying everything you learn to your own research project. 

Returning to education allows you to learn new skills that may not have been as important or as much as a main focus when you first attended university. DBA programs can help you become a much more well-rounded business leader. 

Read More Books

Taking the time to read books that focus on building leadership skills can help offer insight on skills you may have neglected, while also offering you advice on how to go about applying these new skills in your work life. You can either invest in books that are more general for business leaders or look for books that focus on specific skills. 

Books that come highly recommended for executives include:

  1. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni
  2. Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions, by John Kotter
  3. On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis
  4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins
  5. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham

If you read an incredibly insightful book, be sure to share it with your team. Remember, as a business leader, it is essential that you help motivate them and help them build their own business skills. 

Find a Mentor

What better way to improve your leadership skills than finding a successful leader and learning from them? You are never too old or successful to have a mentor, and you will most likely find that behind all successful business leaders is a mentor of their own. You will want to decide who to reach out to, and once you have a list of potential mentors, you will want to send a personal email or try to contact them through the phone. Of course, business leaders are exceptionally busy, so you may not be able to speak to them right away. You may also want to be prepared for them not to return your calls. However, finding a mentor to speak to and learn from can be a great way to gain first-hand experience. 

All business leaders will have a set of skills they excel in or need to improve. Typically, business leaders will need to possess great critical thinking skills along with the ability to communicate, motivate and adapt. If you fall short with certain leadership skills, there is always the chance to improve.