Unlocking the hidden secrets of effective business leadership

What it takes to lead a successful business. [Dr. Ekrah Ndungu, CEO of the German Institute of Professional Studies]

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, one element stands as the cornerstone of success: leadership. It‘s the force that propels organisations forward, navigating complexities, inspiring teams, and driving innovation.

Yet, despite its paramount importance, leadership remains one of the least explored realms in the business arena.

From motivating others to cooperate in completing necessary tasks to determining what tasks are essential in the first place – leadership has an enormous place within business.

To lead their organisations, leaders need to wear many hats. They assume a variety of roles, including CEO, vice president, director, manager, supervisor, team lead, business owner, and similar roles that influence the day-to-day work and morale of others.

Dr. Ekrah Ndungu, who has been the CEO of the German Institute of Professional Studies for two decades now and is the current chairperson of the Kenya National Association of Private Colleges (Kenapco), emphasises that a great leader has to be humble, have people they look up to, and lead with emotional intelligence.

“As a leader, you don’t need to be lethargic or reactive. One key skill that is important to every leader is emotional intelligence – being able to manage your emotions – because as a leader there will be so many emotional triggers at the end of the day,” says Dr Ndungu.

Her vast experience in the leadership world has seen her win many accolades like the Ambassadorial Code of Honor Award from UN World Council through the International College Of Peace Studies USA, African Woman Leader-Vessels of Virtue Award, Career Coach of the Year Award, among others.

Through her leadership, German Institute of Professional Studies has maintained TOPSCORE BRAND status for job linkages for her students in Germany and Brand of the Year in 2022 as the most preferred German Institute in Kenya.

She says that strong business leadership is a fundamental part of every successful company.

“A team with strong, skilled leadership is more likely to be productive than one without,” she adds.

Leaders are invaluable when it comes to formulating and communicating new strategic directions, as well as communicating with and motivating employees to increase dedication to organizational goals. Ongoing leadership skills training is essential to making sure that leaders are on the right track.

Business leadership can take many different forms, and the goal of business leadership is to find the leadership model that works best for a particular company and its team of employees.

The Harvard Business Review describes Leadership as “the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants.” The man who successfully marshals his human collaborators to achieve particular ends is a leader.

A great leader can do so day after day, and year after year, in a wide variety of circumstances. The successful leader knows that many workers have been brought up to consider their employers as their natural enemies.

There are countless styles from which a leader of a business can choose to determine how they will lead. Among the various business leadership styles, there are a few that have repeatedly proven to be most effective in helping teams achieve success.

Those styles are servant leadership, autocratic leadership, democratic leadership, and bureaucratic leadership.

Leadership is about leading others through a process, to a final destination, or in adopting a certain character trait. It entails a dynamic relationship between people who lead (leaders) and people who are led (followers). When done effectively, leadership can be a motivating and fulfilling experience for all involved.

Dr. Ekrah advises leaders to develop a thick skin as there can be many challenges that will face during their reign, with imposter syndrome topping the list.

“Everyone gets those moments including a king, those moments where everyone wants to pinch themselves to know if it is real. One of the things you should do is stay humble and never arrive. Always have the next destination,” she says.

She stresses the importance of every leader in improving their business leadership skills by finding good mentors and learning from their experiences. She describes a good mentor as “someone you look up to, someone you can receive rebuke from, and someone you aspire to surpass or become like.”

To ensure that they have capable business leaders, companies often seek several specific qualities that are associated with strong leaders.

Most involve your ability to accomplish tasks efficiently, influence others to perform well, and consistently meet and exceed expectations. Others include organization, delegation, communication, responsibility, goal-setting, risk-taking, integrity, curiosity, interpersonal skills, and self-awareness.

There is no one way to be a good business leader. What you bring to the role and how you lead will be different from someone else. There are several different types of leadership, so it’s important to choose what works best for you.

Business leadership is important and necessary for all companies. Business leaders address several critical business functions by creating and implementing strategic plans, rallying employees to keep the mission in mind, and establishing a company culture.

They are also responsible for acquiring and allocating resources and supporting employees in their growth and career development.

Dr. Ekrah,who is passionate about building confidence in others, helping people where she can, and developing people skills daily-advises the young generation to raise ethical leaders.

“Business leaders should position themselves well because they never know when they will have their 360 seconds to change their destiny,” she adds.

Ekrah’s Anchor Verse is Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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