7 Proven Qualities To Develop as an Effective Leader

We all know that leadership plays a mandatory role in the success of any organization. Effective leadership is something everyone wishes to master but only a few manage it successfully. Organizations from everywhere spend huge resources to develop leadership qualities of their people but the eventual outcome, be it financial or otherwise, is not so encouraging. That indicates that more effort has to be invested in developing effective leaders to ensure greater success and growth of business performance now and the future. Perhaps the best thing to focus on is the proven ways of developing such leaders.

1. Have a Heart for Your Team

What is a leader when there is no follower? And there would be no willing followers when there is no trust, respect and show of concern by supposed leader. A great leader takes the time and effort to diligently get to know his team members beyond name, designation and contact details. Effective leadership means being able to carefully understand and appreciate that there are peculiarities among people. The leader need to be able to get past the team members’ resume and learn about their personalities – what do they value most, what are their dislikes, who are his/her family members, who do they trust & respect the most, what are their primary concerns, fears and doubts. If the leader has a heart for them, they would have a bigger heart for the leader.

2. Leading by Versatility

The only thing constant nowadays is change. Leadership roles are evolving beyond traditional description and as a result the leader needs to have leadership qualities that accommodate flexibility not only in terms of managing people with different personalities but also managing situations with a mixture of complicated tasks. In other words, you need to tailor the type of leadership you would want to exercise that would be most suitable for a particular person and for a particular situation. One of the most common pitfalls of average leaders is that they get too involved with the daily challenges to the extent that they are not paying enough attention, hence lack of awareness, of forthcoming dangers. When the leader practices the leadership qualities of strategic visioning, innovative thinking and people nurturing, they would, in time, be able to release themselves from the daily challenges and focus on strategic matters so that they are able to cascade their innovative ideas to their capable and competent team members for effective and efficient implementation.

3. Be a People Developer

A frequently cited reason by average leaders on why they got stuck in daily challenges is because they felt they are no capable and competent people within the organisation who could handle the complexity of the tasks at hand Andrew Carnegie, once said, “It marks a big step in your development when you come to realise that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone.” One of the most neglected leadership qualities is to constantly and consistently develop the people under the care of the leader. When that happens, productivity increases from an addition effect to a multiplication effect. In fact, the leader should have the mindset of continuously developing themselves so that they can, in turn, develop his/her team to the extend where they are able to take over his/her role so that the leader can focus on executing higher level strategies.

4. Sharpen Problem Solving Acuteness

Everyone has to deal with problems and very few people can deal with them effectively. Whoever can help them solve those problems will always be respected and even loved! Not too long ago, the effectiveness of one’s leadership abilities rests upon his/her problem solving skills – the ability to identify and quantify the problem; the ability to think rationally in order to generate enough practical options; and the ability to make the most optimum decision. However, due to the ever rapidly changing business landscape, time is of essence. Effective leaders need to develop the ability to recognise a problem before it becomes an emergency. By sharpening their problem solving acuteness, emerging problems can be identified and solve early so that it will never have a chance to get out of control and into a fire-fighting mode. They hone their ability to look for signs and indicators that will give them subtle insights into the problem ahead and proactively take the necessary steps to contain them.

5. Learn to Assess People and Delegate Proactively

The ability to assess one’s behaviour and capability is another highly important leadership qualities all leaders need to possess. Sometimes, leaders don’t see this as a positive trait because they think that they can rely on third-party assessment tools to reveal to them the behaviours and capabilities of their people to them. Without truly appreciating the qualities of their people at work (under different levels of pressure), leaders bear the risk of delegating the wrong tasks to the wrong people. The danger comes way after that when costly mistakes are made but never reported for obvious reasons, which would only aggravate the situation beyond rescue. Hence, in the presence of effective leadership, the leader is highly encourage to hone the ability to observe, assess and quantify the team’s behaviour and capability so that delegation of work can commence proactively.

6. Own up to Mistakes AND still be in Control

One of the most admired leadership qualities is the ability to own up and take responsibility for the mistakes made. A great leader is not afraid to take bold, unconventional actions and commit mistakes, even failures because the leader is prepared to learn how not to commit the same mistakes. Acknowledging one’s mistakes is not a weakness but a strength to face uncertainty and doubt, couple with an opportunity to find solutions and do better. Many good organisations became great because of the mistakes made. Similarly, many innovative products were born for the same reason. Yes, there may be costs involved to deal with mistakes, but the cost of ignorance is even greater, considering how the world is transforming into un-recognised landscapes.

7. Communicate Effectively

Perhaps the most superior of all leadership qualities is the ability to communicate effectively 360-degrees. Communication does not start with speaking, but listening; listening for the unspoken meaning to understand the intention of the speaker. Then the leader has to engage his/her lateral thinking abilities to construct cohesive sentences that accurately carries the intended meaning before verbally articulating the leader’s thoughts to others. Unfortunately, many leaders paid lop-sided attention to speaking and wonder why others can’t understand what the leader is trying to say. As a result, mis-understanding arises and if this is not resolved, it will lead to greater conflicts and eventually end up in a total communication and working relationship breakdown. To begin with, listen with both ears to seek for understanding instead of looking for reasons to reply. Listen with the eyes, to the unspoken body language, for the unarticulated messages. Listen with the heart expressions and tone of voice for any existence of fears, concerns and doubts.

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