14 Key Skills Every Business Leader Needs To Develop

Dayana Jones

To be an effective mover and shaker in the global economy of business development, it takes a humble, open-minded leader to guide a team and build on past success. Offering a simple solution to address target market audience needs will also secure the long-term commitment and trust of potential partners.

Below are 14 skills that Forbes Business Development Council members encourage leaders to hone if they want to stay relevant in today’s marketplace.

1. Remote Work Leadership

Business development leaders should hone in on developing the skills they need to manage a remote workforce. The ability to maintain culture with ongoing training in place to keep the productivity of remote and in-person workforces flowing is crucial. – Sharon Fox, TrustLayer

2. Social-Emotional Intelligence

With the ever-changing business landscape, a great skill to master and home is social-emotional intelligence (EQ). An emotional quotient or emotional intelligence is the ability for one to take charge of their emotions. Mastery of this can in turn benefit the user by helping them understand how to handle and influence the emotions of others. Now more than ever this skill is paramount in the new era of remote work. – Manny Reyna, The PMO Squad

3. Grit

The Wikipedia definition of the word grit is: “a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state.” I think this sums it up. A leader must have the ability to have a long-term goal and then have the dynamism and tenacity to work toward it through a multithreaded ecosystem of people, culture, data, digital and more. – Dipanjan Das, Genpact


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4. The Ability To Leverage New Technologies

All business development leaders should focus on leveraging emerging technologies in order to provide greater value to not only clients but also internally. This will help with essential day-to-day tasks, from quickly finding qualified leads and building the sales pipeline to accurately tracking return on investment, which are more important than ever in today’s constantly shifting marketplace. – Omar Arab, Veritran

5. Multithread Relationship Building

Business development leaders need to learn to multithread, which is building relationships with multiple client stakeholders and coaching their teams on how to do this effectively. Buyer job transitions are up by 28% during the Great Reshuffle and 80% of reps have lost a deal because of decision-maker turnover. Multithreading will safeguard deals from the impact of job changes and open up potential new opportunities. – Alyssa Merwin, LinkedIn

6. The Ability To Communicate Simply

Simplicity is key. Thanks to technology, there is an ever-growing stockpile of solutions to provide for any given problem, each subsequent solution sometimes more complex to comprehend and, therefore, harder to relate to. In this case, it’s essential that business development leaders are able to describe their solutions in a simple, easy-to-imagine manner for clients to understand what they may be buying into. – Anjali Chhabra, YouGov

7. Virtual Stage Presence

Today’s marketplace centers on the digital experience, especially as most client engagements occur virtually. Now, we must perform on the virtual stage to make the best impression and close the deal. Leaders should develop a strong virtual stage presence by regularly practicing on video, then playing it back and adjusting their messaging, body language and personal style, as needed. – George Donovan, Allego

8. Empathy

The business sector has a track record of being cold and devoid of feelings or emotion. It is important to remember in business that we are working to make life and the economy better for people. It is not wrong to show emotion and it is not weak to show emotion. The more we normalize this, the better we can become at working together and getting better results. – Sarah Critchley, Hitachi Solutions

9. Coaching

Effective coaching skills are important. Sales professionals need more than sales managers; they need effective sales coaches who are committed to their personal success. Well-coached sales professionals will outsell their competitors, build relationships for future business, and are more likely to be professionally fulfilled and thus, more loyal to their organization. – Jeffrey Alpaugh, Marsh McLennan

10. Flexibility

Approaching challenges with flexibility is more important than ever. After two years of constant pivots, that kind of agility has become the new customer expectation. But that kind of real-time flexibility only happens when there’s also trust between two partners. It’s what allows us to develop tailored solutions for our customers and evolve them quickly and efficiently. – Stephen Mohan, Office Depot, Business Solutions Division

11. The Ability To Identify Market Trends

Ability to quickly identify patterns in the market and rapidly deploy sales and marketing tactics to validate commercial potential around the patterns is critical. It could be an industry trend that results in more effective messaging and enhanced offerings. From a more tactical perspective, it may also relate to the commonality between deals with short sales cycles that could be replicated across the sales team. – Ash Didwania, Resilia

12. Public Speaking

Personal branding is more important than ever, and this includes both in-person—now that events are returning—and also digital branding. What flies for an in-person event may not fly for a Zoom call. Being able to read audiences and brand yourself by the level of experience and intelligence you have as we move from the pandemic era to the endemic era of Covid-19 is critical for success. – David Strausser, Vision33

13. The Ability To Take Initiative

Every business development leader should be a good initiator and change champion. A successful leader knows the market and continues to stay two to three steps ahead by simply initiating changes and convincing other team members to embrace those changes. This is done through the power of consultation, rational persuasion and exchange tactics. In today’s digital world, customer behavior has changed and necessitates a new take on business development practices. – Rahul Sarkar, Tech Mahindra

14. Active Listening

Leaders should focus on how to ask good questions and listen to the responses. By mastering inquisitive inquiry, active listening, understanding, relating and engaging skills, business development leaders can build and maintain connection, even virtually. We train salespeople to ask O-P-C questions that are open-ended to get people talking, probing to expand the conversation and confirming to clarify and validate the information. – Julie Thomas, ValueSelling Associates

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2022/03/25/14-key-skills-every-business-leader-needs-to-develop/

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