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6 Keys to Business Leadership

Leadership is a critical component to business success. Looking at how leadership occurs can improve management effectiveness and business performance. The ability to elicit quality performance from others is the crux of leadership. Planning, communication and organization are the foundation upon which all other aspects of leadership are built. At a personal level motivation and reinforcement drive people to achieve. Following are keys to effective business leadership:


  1. Develop and Communicate Mission and Strategy – The foundation of leadership is planning. Communication of strategies, plans and goals creates unity of purpose. When all members of an organization are focused on the same vision and each member understands the role they fulfill and how it fits into the overall structure of the team the primary objective of the business can be achieved.
  2. Formulate and Adhere to Organizational Structure – A clear definition of the authority and responsibilities of all members of the organization is essential to effective leadership. Clearly defined organizational structure supports efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Understand Intangible Needs – Understanding what motivates people is one of the most important components of leadership. Some people have the need for achievement – they have to feel that their efforts produce value.  Many people feel the need for affiliation meaning they equate success to interaction and acceptance through others. There are many intangible needs that motivate people and all people are different. Knowing what motivates individuals allows presentation of goals and objectives in ways that will influence people to achieve.
  4. Allow Motivation to Manifest – The level of motivation people feel is based on how much they want something and how likely they feel they are to get it. People must feel the need to accomplish in order to achieve. They also must feel that their efforts will not go unrewarded. Setting goals that are achievable and providing rewards of value will provide successful motivational influence.
  5. Provide Motivational Incentives – There are always the intangible goals that people seek and these can be provided by putting people in positions to achieve goals of perceived value. It’s also valuable to provide recognition for these types of accomplishments. Tangible incentives such as performance based compensation will always provide effective motivation.
  6. Utilize Effective Reinforcement Methods – There are two basic forms of reinforcement – positive and negative. Negative reinforcement refers to holding people accountable for certain levels of performance and enforcing those expectations through undesired consequences. Positive reinforcement refers to acknowledgement of contributions. Generally both methods will need to be employed for leadership to be effective.

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