Top five reasons why identifying leaders is fundamental to business success

Oliver Watson explores the reasons why a successful leader translates to a successful business.

It’s no secret that the ability to spot and nurture leadership is key to business success. Yet, according to our recent Future of Leadership report, organisations – including small businesses – are all too often failing to identify and invest in future management and leadership talent internally.

By failing to fix a broken talent pipeline or focus on success planning, businesses will struggle to find suitable candidates to lead their business today and into the future. But why is this such an important part of running a successful organisation?

Here, we look at the top five reasons why strong leaders equate to strong business prospects, and subsequently why identifying future leadership talent should be the starting point for any growing SMB.

1. Leaders nurture a culture of self-improvement

As continuously updating skills becomes increasingly critical in an ever-competitive job market, leaders play an important role in cultivating talent development across their organisation.

A leader’s acute knowledge of how to identify, develop and retain talent through continuous training opportunities and by providing flexible career options within the organisation (for example, for employees who are studying or women who are returning to work after maternity leave) is vital to ensure the best people stay within your business – and, as any leader knows, top talent brings in big business.

2. Leaders empower an entrepreneurial culture

The mark of a good leader isn’t how well they make and take ownership of decisions, but how well they empower others to make choices that support the growth of the business.

By always considering how initiatives can benefit more than just one area of the company and investigating different viewpoints by actively seeking out open discussions with others, a leader has the ability to inspire an entrepreneurial culture and empower others to make decisions that improve the everyday (and more importantly, beyond).

3. Leaders have the confidence to break the rules

With technology bringing a rapid and unprecedented rate of disruption, leaders are key to gauging how long-term trends in the markets, economy and technology will impact their business – and are essential for ‘steadying the ship’.

Their ability to take risks, adapt to change and foresee implications for customers and employees alike is critical. By understanding that breaking the rules and navigating problems and hurdles is a natural part of pursuing a vision, leaders are free to develop ambitions business plans that link directly to creating competitive advantage – amidst the trickiest of times.

4. Leaders drive change through creativity

Where a manager might seek stability, a leader drives change. If both create an environment where innovation is encouraged at all levels and creativity is openly rewarded, business can flourish.

Strong leaders do so by example, encouraging others to find creative solutions to business challenges – and when things don’t pan out, they are comfortable with failing fast (start-up style) and able to bring the team straight back to the table to look at what went wrong, what’s next and what’s new.

5. Leaders shape an inspirational culture

The modern-day leader is more than just a people and/or business manager. It is their responsibility to continually inspire team members and colleagues to excel and share their opinions, and create an environment where all individuals feel able to proactively contribute to and shape the business strategy.

Their ability to inspire creativity on a daily basis with guidance, but not always structure (given the need for flexible business operations), endorses and shapes an open, inspirational culture that ultimately delivers business success.

Leaders are highly influential in terms of the success – or lack of – their business achieves. Without the right leadership, the right results will be unattainable. So, to secure the success of your small business it’s time to take a company-wide view in creating an entrepreneurial and flexible culture of self-improvement, smart decision-making and fast-failing – starting with the top down…

Oliver Watson is executive board director for UK and North America at PageGroup.

Further reading on leadership

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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