The most essential dynamic in the health of a business and the successful execution of a strategy is competent and confident leadership – not ever to be confused with management. Effective leaders inspire those around them with the will to win. They provide stewardship, purpose, direction, support, and motivation to those charged with the pursuit of business initiatives. To be successful, the leader must see opportunity, and formulate strategy – then configure, prepare, and deploy assets. Most important for a successful leader is to ensure that all involved in the pursuit of strategy have the proper training, tools, capabilities, and clarity of purpose.

Thus, no duty is more important for leaders than studying their profession, understanding the human dimension of leadership, becoming tactically and technically proficient, and preparing to deploy those readied assets. These endeavors help leaders understand the effects of vigorous deployment on employees, departments, business units, and other leaders.

Leaders are to be selected for their tasks because of their moral character, firm willpower, and professional ability – not for any other reason, especially cronyism. They must imbue their commands with their ideas, desires, energy, and methods succinctly and with great simplicity – after all, they must be easily understood by everyone involved without mistake. The personal influence and competence of the leaders of individual business units, rolled-up to the enterprise level, have a direct and indelible effect on the achievement of business strategies.

Professional competence, personality, and the will of strong leaders represent a significant part of any business’ health and strength. While leadership requirements differ with the size and type of business, all leaders must demonstrate character and ethical standards – they must be able to “walk the talk” if they expect others to follow. In simplest terms, leaders are employees, but with the heaviest of responsibilities.

Leaders must know and understand their workers, the personal challenges they face, what is important to them, and what serves to motivate them. If a leader finds that an employee is irrecoverably incapable, then it is the duty of the leader – out of responsibility to the business and the other employees – to remove the weak so that the business does not gravitate towards operating to the least capable level. As such, leaders must act decisively with courage and conviction when faced with challenges – and, equally important, build trust and teamwork. In the execution of the tactics in pursuit of the strategies, they know when and where to make decisions, redirect, or otherwise influence the action by their personal presence.

Strong leaders and trained, dedicated employees are the greatest business multipliers. When challenged, the leader’s sense of duty, courage, loyalty, discipline, stamina, and skill – and preparedness and willingness of the employees – provide the decisive edge. When meeting the challenges, superior ability derives from the courage and competence of the employees, the excellence of their training, the capability of their equipment, the soundness of their combined business doctrine, and above all, the quality of their leadership.

A leader is a leader because others are willing to follow – as such, a leader must first and foremost be a selfless servant to a greater cause.