Leaders are not born, they are made. So are you a good corporate leader? If no, then you will find out how to become a good leader in this article.

Today, I will be highlighting 12 essential criteria to fulfill if you want to be a good corporate leader. When I mean corporate leader, I am not referring to those highly paid managers or executives.

“Leadership skills in business is not an option, it’s a must.” – Rich Dad

Instead, I am referring to entrepreneurs who are at the helm of affairs in their own company. I prefer talking about entrepreneurial corporate leaders because I see a kind of commitment in them, which I don’t find in those highly paid executives. As a corporate leader, you are the spearhead, the driver of growth and survival in your company.

“If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the IKEA employees.” – Ingvar Kamprad

Now on what standard can one assess the level of his or her leadership skills? Well, below are 12 benchmarks you can use to determine if you are a good corporate leader or not.

12 Essentials for Becoming a Good Corporate Leader

1. You must possess a competitive spirit and aspire to be the best.

“It’s my job for Oracle, the number two software company in the world; to become the number one software company in the world. My job is to build better than the competition, sell those products in the marketplace and eventually supplant Microsoft and move from being number two to number one.” – Larry Ellison

I love entrepreneurial leaders who possess the competitive spirit of entrepreneurship. When I think of entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, John D. Rockefeller, Dangote, Bill Gates and Mukesh Ambani; I get fire up in the spirit. These men are good corporate leaders and entrepreneurs who dominated their niche because they possess the spirit of competition.

“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all but goes on making his own business better all the time.” – Henry Ford

These men are always striving to be the best. That is a major attribute of good corporate leaders. I believe strongly in competition because it forces you to attempt and achieve the extraordinary.

2. You must be committed to the growth and survival of your business

To be a good corporate leader, you must be committed to the course of your company. You must put in equal hours or even work more than your employees.

Employees are often inspired by leaders who are always in the field. Good corporate leaders delegate duties but they are always on ground to offer guidance to whosoever needs it.

“Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” – John D. Rockefeller

3. You must strongly believe in the need for continuous innovation

You must emphasize the need for continuous innovation to your team. You must inspire and challenge their creativity. If you don’t innovate, you and your business will become obsolete.

“In three years, every product my company makes will be obsolete. The only question is whether we will make them obsolete or somebody else will.” – Bill gates

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

4. You must have the ability to create challenging visions.

One true attribute of a good corporate leader is the ability to fashion goals and visions for the company. As a leader, you must see beyond the present. You must be able to anticipate and foresee the future.

“If you want to be rich, you need to develop your vision. You must be standing on the edge of time gazing into the future.” – Rich Dad

4. You must be flexible and open to ideas; yet, you must be firm

Many great innovative ideas have been thrown in the trash because of the leader’s inability to change his/her perception. Lack of flexibility made Henry Ford lose the leadership position of Ford Motor Company to General Motors.

“The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.” – Bill Gates

Before making an important decision, get as much as you can of the best information available and review it carefully, analyze it and draw up worst case scenarios. Add up the plus or minus factors, discuss it with your team and do what your guts tell you to do.” – The Mafia Manager

5. You must be a good communicator as well as a good listener

To be a good corporate leader, you must learn to read individuals from their words. You must learn to listen with your heart. In addition to that, you must be a good communicator. You must know the right words to use in any given situation. You must be a leader whose words can awaken the giant in your listeners.

“Talk is cheap. Learn to listen with your eyes. Actions do speak louder than words. Watch what a person does more than what he says.” – Rich Dad

6. You must have the ability to strategically induce your company’s value in your customers, employees, investors and suppliers. If your company stands for integrity, then you must live for it. Your employees and every entity that does business with your company must respect the company’s values.

“The most important ‘speed’ issue is often not technical but cultural. It’s convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on everyone moving as fast as possible.” – Bill gates

“Remain true to yourself and your philosophy.” – Giorgio Armani

7. You must set high self imposed standards for yourself. Self imposed standards such as discipline, punctuality and integrity will help you become a formidable corporate leader. Your employees must know you as a leader that lives by principles.

“The most important thing in your business relationships is your reputation for honesty. If you can genuinely and sincerely fake honesty, you will be a success. Never doubt it.” – The Mafia Manager

“I am stingy, and i am proud of the reputation.” – Ingvar Kamprad

8. You must have the ability to forge a team out of your employees

I have said this time without number and I will continue to hammer on it until you come to accept the unquestionable importance of a business team. Teams are known to act with singleness of purpose and commitment, so it is your job as a corporate leader to forge this team out of your existing employees.

“Individuals don’t win in business, teams do.” – Sam Walton

9. You must build your employees self esteem and confidence

Telling an employee that you believe in him or her will go a long way to bring out the best in that employee. Every employee is unique; it is up to you the corporate leader to discover the uniqueness of each employee. You must find their strength and build on that strength.

“We treat our people like royalty. If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you.” – Mary Kay Ash

10. You must inspire your team to aim for greatness even if it means making some mistakes

In my team, mediocrity is outlawed. The use of the word ‘impossibility‘ is forbidden. Instead of saying ‘it is impossible,‘ I encourage my team to say “how can we make it possible” or “what are the possibilities.” Saying such words keeps my team on the edge, it challenges their creativity and ultimately, it brings out the greatness in them.

“Punishing honest mistakes stifles creativity. I want people moving and shaking the earth and they are going to make mistakes.” – Henry Ross Perot

“After loyalty come ability, skill and competence. Promote only able people (and the occasional humbler). You find able people by testing them.” – The Mafia Manager

11. You must have the ability to accept and face business challenges unafraid. In the face of extreme difficulty, you must exhibit bravery. I have a strong belief that challenges come to make us stronger personalities.

“When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough.” – Donald Trump

“Luck is not a factor. Hope is not a strategy and fear is not an option.” – Anonymous

Looking back at my life, I have come to observe that for every challenge I face and surmount, I come out smarter and stronger. To be a good corporate leader, you must also develop this perception towards challenges.

“Without the element of uncertainty, the bringing off of even, the greatest business triumph would be dull, routine and eminently unsatisfying.” – J. Paul Getty

12. Lastly, you must see criticism as a stepping stone to greatness. Every great leader must face criticism in one way or the other. So the earlier you brace up for it, the better for you.

“The more you risk being rejected, the greater your chances are of being accepted.” – Rich Dad

“Dare to risk public Criticism” – Mary Kay Ash

These are the 12 standing guidelines you must adhere to if you want to be a good corporate leader. Stick to it and you will see yourself emerging as a formidable corporate leader.