Leadership is often defined as a person’s ability to guide and influence members of an organization to achieve a common goal. That’s a good macro view. But looking deeper, it’s clear that the best leaders possess a wide variety of intellectual and emotional skills that smoothly pair with their business acumen.

Leaders today need to be honest and have integrity in facing challenges such as inflation, a pandemic, supply chain delays, workforce development, and charitable giving.

While many leadership qualities are common across all industries, every vertical market has its own needs and requirements for a good leader. Here is a look at some top leadership skills and examples of how they apply to the physical security industry.

Good leaders communicate well. Give your employees the plain facts, even if unpleasant, as it will save time. Even if you only take a few minutes to elaborate on a point or, worse, correct one, those minutes add up quickly. Effectively communicating the first time will save time for more valuable activities.

Leading means ensuring your employees know what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and why it matters. Give your teams the information they need to do their jobs well, both individually and collectively. This improves your company culture and prevents confusion and costly misunderstandings.

Open, honest communication fosters a culture of inclusivity and solidarity, strengthening your employees’ loyalty and willingness to advocate for your brand. In short, how effectively you lead is directly tied to how skillfully you communicate with the people you lead.

Sending the right message can motivate and inspire employees. One effective speech has the power to move people, generate positive change and spark creativity and innovation within your company. Leaders strengthen the emotional connection and commitment to the company by making employees feel valued and empowered to do their jobs well.

Leaders need a vision for their company that inspires and motivates people to stay excited about their jobs. That vision sets goals for the team to accomplish within a given period. People are likely to work harder when they have targets to meet.

Communicating empathetically affects employee engagement. In today’s tight market for experienced and qualified employees, leaders must do what’s necessary to keep current workers on the job and performing at a high level.

We had a vice president of operations who could no longer travel due to family circumstances. He might have been replaced, but his skills were valuable. We hired two people to support him and handle the travel. It’s about doing the right thing for people who give their best to the company.

Not all leadership comes from a CEO, president, or another top official. The best security integration firms have leaders throughout the organization. It might be the head of human resources driving a proposal for improving recruitment practices or a technician implementing processes to speed system installations, saving the firm time and money.

For example, we recently issued a new employee handbook and asked all employees to read it and sign with their approval. No one came forward with questions, but you could tell there were concerns. Finally, one young technician asked for a meeting. He shared a couple of issues that worried him and about 40 of his colleagues. Following that conversation, we made some changes and everyone was happy. That young technician is now a project manager.

A leader’s most rewarding feeling comes from growing a young person within the professional ranks. Mentoring promising employees is how we develop the next generation of leaders. Years ago, I had a person ask to start at the bottom to learn the entire business, not just one job. We hired her as a receptionist and immediately saw talent. She soon moved to an accounting coordinator role before taking a similar position in marketing. She accepted a junior sales job followed by a promotion to a senior salesperson. Soon, she became our top national accounts salesperson.

Are good leaders born or made? Undoubtedly, some people have natural talents that point them toward leadership roles, while others acquire them through study and hard work. However, anyone with experience, training, and desire can improve their ability to run a business and, more important, lead people.