How to be a great business leader

Contributor - Gemma Went

Date: 11 September 2018

How to be a great business leaderThere's a lot of talk in the online business community about being a thought leader, or leading a movement. The moment you step over into influencing people, you've got to take that responsibility seriously - whether you label yourself as a leader or not.

Here are five fundamental things a leader should never ever do - and eight things true leaders do really well.

Five things a leader should never do

Don't make people feel bad

This happens a lot through sales - if you're making someone feel bad for not buying something or "taking action", that's not true leadership. True leadership is about positive change.

Don't try to be perfect

Being a leader does not mean you have to have everything worked out. A real leader shares their flaws and their vulnerabilities because these are the things they've learned from. These are the things that have put you in that leadership position.

Don't try to push people in the wrong direction

People have to be allowed to make their own decisions about what's right for them, and as a leader, you should support that. You shouldn't be pushing them into joining a group, or buying a product, or doing anything that isn't the right fit.

Don't manipulate

Trying to make people do something that you want them to do is not being a leader. A leader is someone who focuses on the good of that person, guiding them along a path but giving them a real choice.

Don't lie

If you're in a position of leadership you need to approach life with integrity, honesty and authenticity. The moment you stop doing that, you start leading people down the wrong path.

Eight things true leaders do really well

Show your flaws

We don't want to see polished, perfect lives because they aren't real. We want to see how our leaders deal with their flaws and how they have overcome challenges.

Act with integrity

Actions speak louder than words. True leaders genuinely care about their people. My core value is integrity, and every decision I make I run past my filter of integrity. It's not always easy and takes some thinking, but it's worth it for your business to be guided in the right direction.

Try new things, fail (and pass on the learning)

It takes courage to take risks. Leaders jump in, take risks and share the learnings from their failures. I am very happy to fail. I don't see failure as a negative but a massive learning opportunity which I can pass on and move forward.

Share the highs and the lows

It's not all about your 90K month or 70K launch. It's about the months when you made £600. I've shared my times of doubt and overwhelm, when I took a step back and allowed myself some space. Share the highs and the lows so people can learn.

Make people question themselves (for the right reasons)

Everyone has their own belief system - a leader will make you feel safe questioning it. It's uncomfortable to question and move away from your status quo. A leader does this for the good of the people they lead, and to help them grow.

Make people feel good about themselves

Always. Even if you have to say something difficult to someone, always support that person to see the positives. There's enough bad going on in the world.

Battle with your ego

A true leader tries to lead from the head and heart, not the ego. Their actions are not about benefiting them, but the people they serve. It's a battle, but a true leader will work to get the ego out of the room so they can do their best work.

Desire to make things better

Whether small things in their industry or a global mission, leaders want to make changes for the good of others. They see opportunities to make things better. They take people on that mission with them with care and responsibility.

Copyright © 2018 Gemma Went

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Gemma Went

Gemma has more than 16 years' experience in the digital world and worked for a variety of clients and agencies before setting up her own award-winning business.