Strong, effective leadership is a gift to any situation, and this is the impact you can have as you develop your ability to lead. Anyone–really, anyone at all–can become an effective leader.
How can anyone, anywhere become an effective leader?
Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at a false belief many people have about what it means to be an effective leader. Many believe the “gift” of leadership is bestowed only on those lucky few we might call “born” or “natural” leaders. These are the folks who always seem to be at the top of the list or the head of the group. The one other people look to for inspiration. In any group of people, this kind of leader will emerge. Often, when this happens, other people with as much or more to contribute hang back or go quiet, robbing the group–and themselves–of what they have to offer.
While it’s important to respect the management structure in your organization, you can develop into an effective leader no matter where you are.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
An effective leader is anyone who chooses to do a few simple things, no matter what their job is or where they “fit” on the team. You don’t require any special training to do this. You only need a willingness to choose to do a few things every day to become a better leader and a truer version of yourself.
An effective leader shows initiative and gets things done.
A person interested in being an effective leader will look for what needs to be done and find a way to meet that need or solve that problem. This could involve taking responsibility for the task, delegating or taking a team approach to a solution. But the core action here is taking responsibility. That’s a core aspect of leadership, because effective leaders do not point fingers they volunteer solutions.
An effective leader will keep their word and meet their deadlines.
If you consistently make excuses or miss deadlines, your team will begin to resent your lack of effort and contribution to the collective vision. They may not say anything, they may even joke about it, but they will not honor your attempts to lead. However, if they know they can count on you to get done what you say you will when you say you will, that demonstrated leadership will become your reputation.
An effective leader will naturally help others connect with the vision.
Every healthy team has a vision. An effective leader will seek to understand that vision and share it with others, through both conversation and action.
An effective leader seeks to add value on a consistent basis.
A person who wants to develop as a leader must not only look inward at personal growth, but must also look outward to help others. If you make it a habit to add value to every person or situation you encounter, you will soon find people gravitating toward you for counsel and you will create a series of successes in which you played an important role. This will build your reputation as a problem-solving leader.
An effective leader is respected by others on their team.
Effective leadership can be measured, in part, by how other people on the team feel about you and your contributions to that team. Do they appreciate your point of view? Do they listen to your perspective? If so, you’re on the right track. If not, you may want to give some consideration to what you’re bringing to the team in your attitude and your actions.
Take a few minutes to think about how intentional you are in these habits each day. If you are struggling with effectiveness as a leader, practice these actions until they become habits.
For more on effective leadership and how you or your team can grow as leaders, connect with me here.