Being an effective leader is more than just “barking out orders” and expecting everyone to accomplish every task successfully. Just because you are in a position to “give order” does not make you an effective leader. A true leader is able to help other people develop their leadership skills and gain their leadership confidence while accomplishing team goals. A great leader is able to lead his or her team of subordinates, regardless of what the situation is. Good or bad, a leader still leads. There will be good times as well as bad times. There will be times when it seems everyone and everything is coming against you at the same time. But a good leader will never succumb to the pressure. A good leader will never allow his or her subordinates to see them waiver.
Do you possess the required skill set to be an effective leader? Let’s find out.
1. Honesty: Team member want to work for someone they can trust. Someone they can come to in a time crisis and not be made into the scapegoat, just to keep the leader “looking good.” The foundation of success is honesty. You need to have the moral integrity to always be honest with your subordinates as well as yourself.
2. Ability to communicate clearly: Your team needs to understand what you expect from them and what your goals are. In order to achieve any level of success, you must be able to communicate clear, concise instructions and have the ability to give good, accurate and constructive feedback without embarrassing or belittling someone publicly.
3. Confidence: You must appear confident at all times and in every decision you make. Your team expects you to know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. If you are not able to appear confident in a high pressure decision, they will not be confident in your decisions either. You need to set the example for them to follow. If you have the ability to display confidence in difficult situations, your team will have the confidence to achieve the desired outcome as well.
4. Inspiring: You must inspire your team to achieve every goal and to do so even when you are not around. You must be inspired to be your best at all times and then inspire your team to be their best at all times. Everything you do, you must be confident and inspirational in all you say and all you do.
5. Positive Attitude: A good leader will display a positive attitude in every situation. Your team will pick up any sign of negativity in any given situation. Negativity will spread like wild fire – and will just as hard to extinguish! In addition, the “scorched earth” could be your business! And it will take a long time and a lot of effort to rebuild the Positive Attitude that you quickly lost. NEVER let them hear you complain – about anything! You should express an interest in your team members personal lives, goals and aspirations as well. This will help you to build the positive attitude you desire to have prevalent in your team.
6. Be Decisive: This goes hand in hand with being Confident. Effective leaders have the ability to make impactful decisions that will leave a positive influence upon the team they lead and the business you are in. People want to follow someone who is confident, has their well-being at heart and is able to make good, effective decisions.
7. Be Conscientious: When you show interest in your team members, if one is going through a hard time in some area of their life, show some empathy for them. Offer to help them (if possible) with some time off, or offer to arrange for some type of external support if appropriate (Red Cross, counseling, etc.). Whatever you do – do not discuss any team members personal problems with anyone else in the organization. If you do, even in confidence, word will somehow get out that you cannot be trusted.
8. Be Organized: In order to be an effective leader, you need to be organized. You need to be even more organized than your team members. You need to have the neatest office; the cleanest car; clean clothes every day. Your office should show your personality as well as your organization skills. This will help you to develop other leadership skills, which we have already discussed, in the eyes of the team.
9. Have a Sense of Humor: When appropriate, displaying a sense of humor will help you to create a positive work environment that will assist in effective team building. You do not need to be a “comedic clown” – but you should show a positive sense of humor when you are not having a pressing situation. When things are going well and the situation is in a “relaxing” moment – reacting to something funny someone says and laughing along with everyone will tighten the bonding between you and your team.
10. Be Creative: Think outside the box. A great leader will not always think “this is how we have always done things before.” Your team will look to you to be innovative when a problem presents itself. They will look to you for guidance. They will look to you to make the decision to try something new.
11. Be Open: Encourage your team members to share their ideas with you and with the team. Some of the best ideas came from subordinates that eventually became policy in some of the largest industries today. Evaluate suggestions and pick and choose which to try.
12. Accept All Blame: Whenever something goes wrong, NEVER put blame on the team and especially NEVER put blame on any other individual. Great leaders always accept the blame for their team when things go bad. That take me right into the next item –
13. Always Give Credit to the Team: A good leader NEVER accepts credit when things to well. A great leader always gives the team the credit for victories – especially in the eyes of superiors. Doing this will endear you to your team and they will be willing to do more for you in the future.
As you can see, an effective leader must possess many different qualities. You may have all of these right now. Or you may have most and you have identified a few to work on. Even if you have all of these qualities, I can guarantee you, you are stronger in some areas and weaker in others. Those other areas are the ones you need to work on. Nobody can be 100% in every area (go back and read the section on “honesty” again)!.
Work on all of these areas and you can become a great and effective leader. You will go on to accomplish great things as you build your team around you. Come back and review these things on a regular basis. Work on the areas you are weak in and always strive to make improvement. That is how you can become an effective, successful leader.