If you’re on the path to becoming the best leader possible and want to advance in your career, take note of what successful leaders do. We’ll look at what sets the best business leaders in the world apart from their peers and how you can harness the traits that make them exceptional management material.

The 5 key attributes of leadership

All leaders take charge differently and manage in a style that resonates with their values. The difference between a reluctant leader and a seasoned one comes down to a few essential characteristics. These are the traits that the best leaders in today’s society bring to the table in business.

1. Integrity

According to a report by Harvard Business Review, the integrity of the organisation as a whole can also be shaped by the manager. To ensure integrity, leaders must follow through with their promises and own up to their mistakes. They need to actively acknowledge the hard work of their staff and guarantee quality in everything they do. A leader without integrity will quickly lose the respect and trust of their employees and potentially cause harm to their business’s reputation.

2. Enthusiasm

The enthusiasm of a leader is crucial but it must be genuine. Being enthusiastic about the organisation’s products and services, the business’s goals and visions and the wellbeing of your staff is central to being a good leader. When done with sincerity, it creates meaningful reverberations.

3. Communication skills

A good leader needs to be able to praise, critique, nurture and motivate their staff. They also need to communicate effectively with stakeholders, customers and clients of all backgrounds. An article by Harvard Business Review found that leaders who engage with employees on a conversational level instead of speaking to them in a one-directional manner were more successful.

4. Competence

Managerial competence is sometimes overlooked when choosing a leader for the workplace. This incompetence will erode trust if you’re not good at leading a team. Assuming that a good worker will be a good manager is a common mistake, as these skills don’t always translate to a leadership role.

5. Decisiveness

A leader who is unable to make strategic decisions promptly will ultimately struggle, as will the leader who requires constant approval from their team before deciding anything. This decisiveness is vital for taking risks on new ideas and business as well. Without them, the company will struggle to grow.

7 of the best business leaders in the world

There are plenty of examples of good leaders who have significantly impacted business, but few are as prolific as the following. They personify the essential attributes, including decisiveness, influence and enthusiasm, and have successfully led some of the world’s largest organisations into better times.

1. Brian Chesky, Airbnb

CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, has created the world’s largest online accommodation community. His leadership integrity was showcased when the brand had to lay off a quarter of its employees in 2020 due to the pandemic. Although an unfortunate decision, Brian made sure that the terminated staff were paid at least 14 weeks of severance pay and that they were given access to an alumni directory for referrals, as well as career advice and placement support to find a new position.

2. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, LEGO

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp proved his decisiveness and enthusiasm as a leader when he rescued LEGO from the brink of collapse. During his tenure as CEO, he scrapped underperforming parts of the business, like theme parks, and involved adult LEGO fans in creating new ideas for the brand. Although he now sits as the executive chairman, his 2004–2016 stint as CEO is remembered fondly.

3. Brad Banducci, Woolworths

Australian CEO of Woolworths, Brad Banducci, led the supermarket chain through the unrelenting COVID pandemic and brought it out the other side better than ever. During the pandemic, Banducci consoled customers about supply chain issues, increased employees by the thousands and put the organisation’s efforts into online shopping. The true competence of a CEO is witnessed during the hard times, which Banducci proved.

4. Andrew Forrest, Fortescue Metals Group

Few CEOs in Australia are as famed and wealthy as Andrew Forrest. The Fortescue Metals Group founder has repeatedly proven the scope of his influence and integrity. Forrest was responsible for securing medical supplies for Australian health authorities and Chinese partners during the height of the pandemic, giving $70 million for bushfire prevention and recovery. He is also vocal on topics like health, pollution and agriculture.

5. Eric S. Yuan, Zoom Video Communications

Eric S.YUan is the founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications. He is constantly praised for his integrity as a leader. Yuan promptly addressed security issues with the Zoom platform and was transparent with customers throughout the process when the world looked to Zoom as the new global workplace. Furthermore, Yuan’s employees rank him highly as a leader, and he was awarded the Best CEO of Diversity in the Comparably 2021 awards.

6. Dr Lisa Su, Advanced Micro Devices

Dr Lisa Su took over the reins of AMD in 2014 and has been responsible for leading the chipmaker away from the brink of bankruptcy. Her managerial competence and decisiveness meant AMD’s share price rose remarkably into 2022 and now sits at around 35 times the price it did when she took over.

7. Satya Nadella, Microsoft

Satya is the chief executive and CEO of Microsoft and arguably one of the most influential leaders in the world. Credited with raising the software company’s market cap to over $2 trillion, Satya is also responsible for changing the work culture at Microsoft. Where employees once competed, he urged them to collaborate and focus on learning and growing.

How postgraduate study can cultivate a leader

As the influential CEOs of the world have shown, there are shared attributes that make a good leader great, and thankfully, these can be learned. Studying an online MBA is the best path to career development and acquiring the skills that are so important in leadership.

The MBA programs offered today are flexible, and the syllabus is delivered online, so there’s no need to put your career on hold. The courses teach leadership insight, critical thinking, risk management, networking, communication and other crucial leadership skills.

An MBA can help to fast-track your career development and shape you into the best type of leader, CEO or managing director you can be. You’ll graduate with skills that are indispensable for leading an organisation and be able to combine them with your style of leadership to make your mark on the world.

Learn the skills that make a good leader great

Leaders aren’t simply born great; they put in the hard work, learn new skills and gain real-world experience to get there. A postgraduate degree in business, like an MBA, will equip you with the tools you need to do all this and more to guarantee your success.`

If you’re considering upskilling and arming yourself with the skills required to become an influential leader, we can assist you with your path forward. Our advisors can talk you through the best options for an online MBA, along with anything else you would like to discuss, so reach out to us today.

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Whether you’re ready to enrol, or just have a quick question, simply fill out the enquiry form below to speak directly to the university’s enrolment team. They will be able to guide you through:

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