The most effective leaders make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and why.
Based on a survey of more than 5000 leaders conducted across multiple industries, it was deduced that great leaders have clarity on what they stand for and also thought about how they want to engage their followers. (Source: Ozy)
There has been much talk about leadership – whether it an inane or acquired trait, art or science, etc. There can be many leaders, but what makes an effective leader? Leaders may share the same traits. However, an effective leader rises among the pack to accomplish what he has set to do.
Let’s take a look at six components which make leadership effective.
- Belief in Self
Every individual has leadership qualities, but only some are able to show it. Have you ever thought why so? It is because the leaders have strong confidence in their abilities. They firmly believe that have the ‘X’ factor to achieve their dreams/mission by leading the people. With their power of self-belief, they work hard on making their strengths stronger and overcoming weaknesses. Even rejections don’t deter their self-belief. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start a business called ‘Traf-O-Data’. The idea failed but he knew that he had it in him to do something. Then, he created Microsoft. Rest is history, as they say.
- Goal Setting
It is strange how every leader knows that goal-setting is important, but very few do it. Vision alone does not suffice, an effective leader charts the path that will accomplish this vision. The journey to the vision is made up of small, measurable goals. The leader not only sets goals for himself, but also his people. Take the example of President John F. Kennedy. He was known for setting long-term ambitious goals, but also spent considerable time with his people to make them understand how these goals can be achieved.
Leaders are the motivators. Their followers look up to them to receive inspiration. Imagine if the leader talks pessimism and easily get defeated by setbacks or defeats, what would the followers think? An effective leader is a beacon of optimism. He does not focus on problems, rather he seeks solutions. He is able to cope with adverse situations without losing the focus on the big picture and future. An optimistic leader does not wallow in a dark, but bounces back even stronger. Have you heard of Peter Diamandis? He is the CEO of a non-profit organization “X Prize Foundation’ and was named one of the top 50 leaders of the world in Forbes 2014 list. It is said that he has infectious optimism which motivates each person in his team to transform the world by their unique contribution.
- Giving Value to People
It is people who select a leader. It is people follow leaders by choice. If a leader can’t value his people, it wouldn’t take long for them to topple him from the seat. Unfortunately, leaders conveniently forget this fact. An effective leader does not work in isolation but encourages people to walk along with him. Mahatma Gandhi used to say that honest disagreement is a good sign of progress. His words of wisdom teach that a leader shows displeasure if his followers voice opinions and differences. An effective leader believes in his people, trusts them, delegates responsibilities gives them respect and pays attention to their suggestions.
- Continuous Learning
Leadership is a continuous learning process. An effective leader constantly seeks opportunities that can add to his knowledge and wisdom. This is how he overcomes his weaknesses and failures. He is also the follower of leaders and mentors who inspire him. He spends hours reading books on leadership or even taking up advanced leadership development program to hone his skills. Great leaders such as Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs were avid readers.
- Accepting Mistakes
Owing to his position, a leader’s pride may not allow him to accept his mistakes. But, an effective leader would gracefully embrace his blunders. He understands that his mistakes or incorrect decisions could result in the failure of goals and demoralize the people. By admitting mistakes, a leader just proves that he is human and not perfect. However, at the same time, the leader leaves his slip-ups behind, takes lessons and moves forward in life. He knows that he can’t undo his mistake. So, he simply analyses why it happened in the first place and what he could do rectify it and avoid it in the future. By doing so, he earns respect from people and builds a culture of trust. In his book ‘I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words’, the Apple CEO rightly said, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
It is not a smooth ride to leadership and then being effective at it. If you want to become a one and pick up some tips, executive leadership courses would be a good start.