Are You An Effective Leader?
So, are you an effective leader? This is a question that every business owner should ask themselves – and everyday! Whether you are running a business, you are the manager of a large company or in charge of a team of people then you must evaluate your leadership skills regularly. Now STOP! and ask yourself: “Am I an effective leader?” and take a minute to think about it before you continue reading…
First of all it’s important to understand what it means to be a Leader. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a Leader as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.” Whilst this definition sums up the basic role of a Leader, it leaves a lot to be desired and in is obviously an incomplete definition or a true Leader.
Ralph Lauren offers a much more empowering and enlightening perspective on the true qualities of what the role of Leader is really all about: “a leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” Leadership is not just about telling people what to do, it is inspiring them to want to do it for themselves.
Being a Leader is not about how much power you possess; it is all about personal character and the qualities you possess as an individual. It’s about your ability to inspire and empower those who come under your wings. People naturally recognise a good Leader when they see one. Some schools of thought believe that everyone has the potential to become a Leader. This may or may not be true, however, how you cultivate the qualities necessary to lead is what could potentially single you out from the millions of other people in the world.
Becoming an effective Leader comes from within. Your leadership skills are affected by your own behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. Outlined below are six key qualities that anyone aspiring to be a Leader, or are already in a position of leadership, should definitely have or strive to acquire:
1) You must possess the ability to assess your own qualities and your performance. As a Leader, it is important to be self-analytical. Continually evaluate your own progress and how you can better yourself and your contributions to your business. You should always be thinking about the best way to utilise your strengths and how to improve upon your ‘other areas’. Being able to evolve and show personal growth is key when taking up a leadership role. To be able to adapt to new situations and assist your employees is something that many people find difficult, but with focus and careful attention, it will eventually become a natural part of your thought processes.
2) Having a sufficient amount of motivation will do wonders for your business. Being a Leader isn’t only about being able to give inspiring speeches to your employees or colleagues; it is also about motivate them in a practical way and, as much as possible, leading by example. If you are motivated to fulfil tasks and take on projects then you will be able to empower others and inspire them to follow you. Having a certain energy and imparting that energy onto the people around you will allow everyone to aspire to greatness. As John Quincy Adams famously said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
3) Think about how vital it is to have the right attitude in order to achieve success. Once you are in the right mindset and have a creative and positive approach you’re more than half way there. Everyone wants to work with someone who smiles a lot and radiates positive energy. Leading your team or employees with a pessimistic outlook will only breed negative feeling. Optimism towards tasks, projects and general day to day activities will help to motivate others and encourage them in thinking as you do. It is key to have a genuine passion for a business venture. If you don’t, then you have no place motivating others to do something you yourself aren’t passionate about. Having that passionate spark and a positive attitude will help others overcome self-doubt and aim for the highest standards and results in their work.
4) Every Leader knows that being confident can either make or break the atmosphere in a work environment. If you are confident as a Leader then your employees, colleagues or team will also be confident and will thrive in their environment. It is encouraging to observe a Leader who knows when to grasp opportunities, not just for themselves but also for others. However, there is a difference between being confident and being arrogant. Don’t try to dominate others through your outgoing and self-assured demeanour or else this will have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve. John C. Maxwell makes it clear: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”
5) Being a good communicator isn’t just important for business, it is a key quality everyone should possess to succeed in life. Having essential communication skills is a big one that always comes up in any job specification. To be a Leader, you need to show that you can talk persuasively and in such a way that your employees or team don’t feel patronised. As well as your speaking technique, part of being a good communicator is being able to listen to their problems, ideas and needs. When you are intuitive to other people and show an interest in them, then you are being supportive and from here it is easier to give support and assistance when needed.
6) Be a Leader and be a Team Player. Even though you may be spearheading a company or an important project, you should remember that you are part of a team of people. Although you may be taking the lead, you are all there to support each other. Arnold H. Glasow said: “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” Never lead with a dictatorial style. This lowers morale and discredits your effectiveness as a Leader. Always show that you are part of the team and people will naturally follow you.
It is obvious that being a ineffective Leader can compromise the success of your business or the business you are managing. Assembling and leading a team of people is the most important part of running any business and failing to do so can cause major problems for you and your business.
Interestingly, all these things apply not only to business but also to life in general. Work on acquiring and developing these qualities and you will see success flourish in every aspect of your life. Well, after all, your surroundings may be different but you are who you are (at this moment in time) in all environments whether in the office or at home, in the board room or a children’s play ground. So, are you an effective Leader? If not, what will you do to become one?
I wish you and your team well.