Top Skills You Need to Hone to Be a Leader in Business Administration

Updated on February 7, 2023

If you want to get ahead in the world of business, then you’ll need to master a wide range of skills. However, there’s no need to worry; half the battle is realizing this and getting started on the path to improvement. 

Good leadership skills will increase the likelihood of receiving promotions and salary increases throughout your career. Potential leaders will stand out in the workplace even if there are many employees.

Here are some of the skills you’ll need to master as you gain experience in business administration.

Management of remote workers and projects

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a dramatic increase in remote workers. At first, many companies thought this was a temporary measure to keep employees working while reducing illness. As the pandemic continued, plenty of companies decided that letting people work remotely reduced business costs and led to greater worker satisfaction.

Of course, with remote working, there are some challenges. People who do not work independently do not excel at work-from-home ventures. Some employees become distracted and get less done. As a business leader, you may need to manage a lot of remote workers. In fact, it’s possible that all of your workforce works 100% of the time at home or comes into the office only for major events and milestones.

Remote management entails good communication at all times. Many managers use services like Slack and Airtable to stay connected to team members. Regular meetings via Zoom or Google Meet are other common tools for a remote workforce.

Have a positive emotional influence on employees

Your team will always be looking at you as a guiding force. You must learn to control your emotions so that you do not overreact to a situation and increase volitivity. Good leaders must home in on their team’s emotions and steer them on the right path. This can be difficult for some managers that only see employees via web meetings. Asking key questions and making sure employees always know they can speak up if there is a problem is essential for maximizing productivity and worker satisfaction.

Determination and fortitude

Simply put, leaders need to get the job done in an efficient and effective manner. Sometimes, projects can hit some bumps that are impossible to foresee. As a business leader, you’ll have to find ways to overcome challenges without getting too discouraged or allowing a negative attitude to spill over and affect your team’s morale.

In addition, leaders need to be able to handle negative feedback and criticism from their managers and employees. Feedback is essential to business success and efficiency.

Keep on top of emerging technologies and innovations that can streamline operations

Staying on the cutting edge is one way to offer clients and customers better value and stay ahead of your competition. You want to be an innovator, not just a follower in your field of expertise. This means reading and researching current trends in your business niche and analyzing new practices and innovations to see if your company can benefit from utilizing some of them in your daily operations.

Public speaking skills are critical for networking and marketing

As a business leader, you will likely be expected to give lectures or speeches at company events, meetings, conferences and seminars. Learning to speak clearly and effectively to a larger audience takes practice. There are few people that are just naturally good public speakers. Leading meetings and seminars within your company is a good place to start, but you might want to consider a public speaking class or joining a group such as the Toastmasters, where you can socialize and practice your public speaking skills with others who are trying to get better at speeches too!

Sharpening your pitching skills is an asset that will greatly enhance your public speaking abilities. Pitching involves conveying a clear and persuasive message to inspire action from your audience. This same approach can be utilized in public speaking to engage and hold the attention of your audience, making your message more memorable and impactful. Moreover, the ability to articulate your ideas with confidence and conviction can help establish your credibility and increase the effectiveness of your speech. By honing your pitching skills during pitching skills training programs, you can not only captivate your audience but also leave a lasting impression with your well-crafted and convincing message.

Empathy and compassion

Business leaders must have the ability to empathize with a variety of people. A sympathetic approach to problem-solving helps employees feel valued and appreciated. Empathetic leaders have employees that are more likely to feel comfortable coming forward when there is a problem. 

Compassion is important in an unfortunate situation that no one intended to happen. No matter how dedicated and on top of their job an employee typically is, everyone has bad days or problems that arise that are out of their control. Good leaders recognize that things happen and do not belittle their employees whenever something goes wrong.

Written communication skills

Good writing skills are more important than ever for business leaders. This is especially true at companies where much communication with remote workers is done via message boards, chat and email. Business leaders can benefit from taking a few writing classes to hone their skills. Using a good grammar and spelling checker like Grammarly helps ensure that common mistakes are avoided and that writing is crisp, clear and easy to understand.

Although it takes extra time to make sure something is well written, leaders will find that it saves a lot of time overall because there are far fewer incidences of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Resolution of small and large conflicts

Dealing with conflict is one of the less pleasant aspects of being a business leader. Learning how to focus and deal with conflicts effectively is an essential skill. This means knowing the chain of command within your organization and whom you need to reach out to in order to correct a situation.

At the same time, resolving small conflicts is something that you will likely be expected to handle on your own. Since there will be winners and losers, you need to be prepared for some hidden animosity among your time at times because regardless of how empathetic and compassionate you are as a leader, some people cannot let things go as easily as others.

The importance of networking

There is no time when a business leader should stop networking. There are many ways to gain networking skills in the fast-paced business world. Investing in online networking tools like LinkedIn makes a lot of sense for busy professionals. 

Attending or presenting at online or in-person conferences and seminars are all excellent ways to meet other professionals and gain new opportunities. Networking also allows you to get the advice and input of others with unique insight into your industry.

Realistic and strategic future planning

Planning ahead is very important to the success of your company. Business leaders are responsible for spearheading long-term planning. This means meeting with other leaders and owners and making sure there are clearly defined goals with a realistic timeline. Setting realistic goals and achieving them is always better than setting the bar too high. If you surpass your realistic goals, that is fantastic and something to be proud of. If business leaders are in the habit of setting unrealistic timelines and goals, however, this can lead to a sense of failure and poor morale throughout the company.

Train new employees and facilitate extra training and classes 

A well-trained workforce saves the company a lot of time and money. Business leaders should be willing to help ensure that new hires understand how things work at the company before they are turned loose on a major project.

There are times when outside parties need to be brought in to train employees to use new equipment or gain new skills. It never pays off to reduce costs by eliminating important training. Lack of training leads to expensive mistakes and lost work time, at the very least.

Continue your education

The business world is constantly changing. Taking on more training and gaining more credentials is something any leader should make a priority throughout their career. If you have a bachelor’s degree, getting another degree online can advance your career and give you the chance to hone your leadership skills and confidence. Universities and colleges have developed many specialized courses for professionals in specific industries. For example, if you have worked in a business position at a hospital and want to continue your education, a healthcare administration course from the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management could lead to a master’s degree and a higher salary.

Team building skills are a must in today’s global workforce

As a leader, it is your job to bring people together and make sure they are working effectively. This can be more challenging when you have many employees from a wide range of backgrounds. A good leader finds common ground and nurtures their team. This means offering support and helping team members work together to solve problems. Encouraging communication is a simple way to ensure that no team member feels like they are overlooked when it comes to important decisions. Great leaders stress that there is no such thing as a stupid question or concern.

Be open to new ideas 

When leaders at a business are not open to new ideas and change, the business falls behind. It does not pay off to be completely stuck in the past just because things have worked out well so far. An open-minded strategy invites lucrative opportunities and fosters innovation.

Getting input from others at your company and having regular brainstorming sessions keeps the door to opportunity open.

Be open to taking risks

With business, there is always going to be some risk. In fact, some of the better opportunities sometimes start out as a major risk-taking venture.

At the same time, a good leader needs to think very carefully and critically before making any decisions that involve significant risk. With really big decisions, attorneys and other experts are often consulted to create a realistic picture of the risk involved and possible consequences if a strategy fails.

Stress management

If a leader is too stressed in their work or personal life, it will have an impact on everyone around them. A good leader realizes when they are getting too stressed out and takes measures to get themselves back into a healthier frame of mind. Leadership is simply stressful at times, and to be a good leader, you have to be able to handle these challenges or find a different position.

If you find yourself being a workaholic with too much vacation time accrued, then maybe it is for the benefit of everyone if you schedule some time off on occasion.

Work life balance is also important to reducing stress. When possible, try to separate work and home life as much as you can. When your mind is on too many things at once, it is emotionally tiring and can make you seem distant from those around you.

Patience is an all too often forgotten business skill

It is easy to think that success and practically everything else happens overnight. Thanks to social media and the internet, it can seem like this. What we don’t see is that for every overnight success, there are thousands more that take time. Being impatient leads to hasty decisions and keeps your co-workers on edge. Small steps can lead to great rewards and more success over time in many cases.

If you are a naturally impatient person, make an effort to take it down a notch. Over time, you will learn to take things a little slower and maintain a cooler head.


Becoming a good leader takes time and means gaining experience and skills. While it may seem like some people are born leaders, in reality it took them time to gain the skills and confidence that now come to them so easily.

With an open mind and the determination and drive to never stop learning, you too can gain better leadership skills and take your career to the next level.

If you are ready to gain more skills, consider taking some classes or even going back to school online in your spare time. There are so many flexible online options with more affordable tuition than traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.