Is a business analyst a leader? Could be. I think that depends on the business analyst.
No matter which organization I am working with, my goal is to be the go-to BA. I work to make myself integral to the organization, and show that my knowledge and experience are highly valuable and necessary for the overall success of the organization. To do this I need to act as a leader, even when my HR title doesn’t reflect a leadership role.
Any time a business analyst successfully displays leadership qualities- i.e. (and not limited to) communicates effectively to stakeholders on all levels, maintains a high level of organization, sets the ethical and behavioral example, protects boundaries, and negotiates diplomatically and effectively, that BA is a leader. Consequently, there are many wonderful, skilled BA leaders across many different industries.
So how does a BA become a BA leader? There are a few ways- promotion, change in title, organizational restructure/change…
Even with these:
- the BA must decide to be a leader- even if the above doesn’t happen, and
- the BA must have or gain leadership skills, plus upgrade their current BA skills.
According to the Three Levels of BA Leadership Model (seen below, adapted by me from the Three Levels of Leadership Model), at the center of BA leadership is the BA. Simply put, BA leadership must start with the BA, and the BA will influence outward. BA leadership begins within.