Leadership skills in business development are crucial. If you’re ready for your next career step, check these tips and become a true leader!
Leadership skills have an important role in business development. They help you get recognition from your manager, build better connections and get more things done.
We interviewed many business development leaders and they all agree on one important aspect:
The best business developers in their teams have a good spirit of initiative.
Most managers highly value business developers who are autonomous and able to make decisions on their own. After all, as a manager, you don’t want to hold the hand of your team forever.
Spirit of initiative and decision-making are both in the leadership skills category. Therefore, if you’re committed to growing your career, getting promotions, or salary increases, you definitely need to work on your leadership skills.
But what does it take to become a great leader? What are the skills you need to have?
And if you think you have good leadership skills, how can you use them to grow your career and achieve your ambitions?
There are many different leadership skills for business development and to make it easy for you we selected the 7 most important ones:
1 – Strategic and critical thinking
Critical thinking is the process of analyzing information to create the best possible solution for a problem. When you think critically, you improve your decision-making.
Also, you develop better comprehension skills in conversation and reading. And most importantly, you build stronger working relationships.
In that way, you have more effective interactions with your clients and partners.
There are several ways to improve strategic and critical thinking. For example, by becoming more self-aware and understanding your mental process. A tip is to look at your biases and see how they influence your decision-making ability.
Further, practice active listening and ask questions. Question yourself about your assumptions and beliefs. For example, assess whether your beliefs will lead to a successful business development strategy.
Take time to research. This is important as it helps reflect the potential outcome of your expectations.
Research is an initial step. You can continue by meeting with a mentor who can guide you through your challenges.
The last important tip is to reason using logic. If your argument is supported by factual evidence, you can paint a clearer picture of what you need to do.
2 – Decision making
One of the most important leadership skills in business development is decision-making skills. As a business development professional, you have to think critically and carefully about the impact a certain decision will have.
So, making strategic decisions is a must. To be a strategic decision-maker, you have to stay informed. For example, you need to be aware of competitor developments and the state of your business.
Are there new market opportunities you haven’t considered yet? Or are there any opportunities you can use to cut costs?
These are some questions you need to consider before making a decision.
Importantly, you also need to work on your persuasion skills which can help you get better outcomes in your day-to-day job. Especially in terms of stakeholder management, and customer and partners meetings.
Another tip for making great decisions is to gather opinions from many different departments. This will help you increase productivity and encourage open discussions.
Another way to make great decisions is to try out experimentation. This is key in business development as it increases innovation. You only know if an idea is great when you test it.
Once you test an experiment, assess the results. If it’s successful, you can decide to continue practicing it.
For example, you may decide to use a communication channel you haven’t used before. If you get happier customers, more sales, or more visitors, then you know it’s a successful experiment.
In contrast, if an experiment fails to bring results, you should learn from failure and avoid the same mistakes in the future.
3 – Empathy
Empathy is one of the most important leadership skills.
It’s the ability to understand the feelings and emotions of others and it is necessary to build good relationships and reduce conflict.
If you’re empathetic, others will see you as a warm and understanding person. They will be drawn to you.
A recent study shows that practicing empathy can increase innovation and productivity. Further, it can increase competitive advantage.
You can always have a higher level of empathy. For instance, challenge yourself and go out of your comfort zone. Talk to others about their issues and concerns.
Try to understand their point of view. Talk about experiences you both share and see how they perceive them.
A high level of emotional intelligence (EQ) results in a high level of empathy. And some of the most successful business people have high emotional intelligence.
Emotionally intelligent people are able to easily build trust with others. They excel at building networks and relationships. Also, they work well under pressure, make better business decisions, and lead by example.
4 – Creativity
Creativity is another leadership skill you should master.
Simply put, creativity is the use of imagination to come up with new ideas and turn them into reality.
Don’t worry if you’re not born with it. There are many different ways to develop or improve your creativity. Some of them are very fun to practice too!
First, surround yourself with things that inspire you. Surroundings play a big role in the creative process. There has to be a stimulating environment for creativity to take place.
So, surround yourself with whatever you find inspiring and motivating.
Second, be physically active. Even a short walk can do a lot for your creativity. A study by Stanford shows that brisk walks can increase creativity. So, if you feel a lack of creativity, get up and take a walk!
Third, activities like meditation and reading are also very useful. Just choose your favorite and get your creativity flowing!
5 – Delegation skills
Delegation is giving another member of staff the responsibility and authority to complete an assigned task.
It’s a skill that every business development professional should have. However, sometimes the person in charge doesn’t delegate well.
The reason for that can be related to personal ego. They might think that they can do the task better than others. Or they may feel that it takes too long to explain the task to others.
Also, they might be afraid that others don’t have the necessary skills for that specific task.
Luckily there are ways to get rid of these barriers. Effective delegation can prove beneficial for business development.
For example, set clear instructions. Explain what has to be done, set a time frame, and decide how progress will be measured. Also, your employee might need some initial training to complete a task.
Further, try to get to know your colleagues. In that way, you’ll be able to delegate based on your colleague’s skills, preferences, and availability.
Also, don’t forget to monitor and follow up with them to ensure a smooth process.
If you already manage a business development team and would like to help them be more effective visit our corporate training page.
6 – Taking initiative
Taking initiative is the ability to see something that has to be done and decide to do it without someone else telling you to do it. Basically, it’s the will to go above and beyond your normal job responsibilities to make things happen.
You can always get better at taking initiative. For instance, try to think ahead. Prepare yourself ahead of the topic that will be discussed at a work meeting.
In this case, it’s important to learn to think out of the box and be creative.
Share your thoughts and opinions with others. Further, work on your self-confidence.
Analyze yourself and think about your strengths and flaws. This will bring you closer to your business goals.
7 – Active listening skills
Active listening is one of the most important leadership skills.
It keeps you engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way. When you’re actively listening, you’re giving full attention to the speaker. You’re engaging in a two-way process, where ideas are heard and shared with no judgment.
This skill can be acquired and developed with patience, as it can take some time to master it.
Start by focusing on your body language. While listening, a simple head nod will go a long way. It shows that you’re a compassionate conversationalist.
Importantly, don’t forget to put away your electronic devices during your conversation so that they don’t distract you.
Also, maintaining eye contact with the speaker is important here. Be willing and open to receiving opinions. This gives your partner the chance to clarify any points misunderstood.
Lastly, let them finish and then ask any questions you might have.
Would you like to improve your leadership skills? Then, browse our courses and become a business development pro!
If you’re looking for customized business development training for teams, check out our options.