The qualities of an effective leader are well-known by empirical facts: a leader who achieves valuable business outcomes and by the quality of personal relationships in and outside the organization are traits that lead to leadership success. But what are the underlying dynamics of effective leadership? What causes leaders to act in ways that maximize their impact on the results of organizational performance? Identifying these leaders and modeling their qualities can be one of the most important first steps to help you become a successful leader and achieve outstanding corporate performance.
Effective leadership is about being able to manage expectations. You need to be clear about what’s expected from you to manage your emotional reactions to those expectations. Leaders are excellent at managing expectations and coping with conflict. This skill also makes them great at building trust within the organization.
Effective leadership is also about taking risks. Sometimes the unexpected is what turns the tide of victory or defeat. As a leader, it is your responsibility to know when to take risks and stand firm. This ability to change direction when the going gets tough will give you a distinct advantage over the competition. In addition, effective leadership is also about working with the team and making sure that they are fully involved in achieving the organization’s goals.
Another one of the essential leadership qualities is self-confidence. A great leader must have the confidence that their plan will work and that the group will pull together and accomplish the goals. Self-confidence also leads to another important leadership quality: assertiveness. Great leaders take the time to communicate their goals and expectations to the rest of the team and are never afraid to speak their minds. A strong sense of self-confidence means that a great leader knows how to manage his/her emotion and effectively diffuse any conflict type. This trait will make a great leader more powerful.
Communication is another fundamental quality of effective leadership. It can be easy for a leader to get caught up in the flow of the meeting or activity, and not everyone’s heard first what the leader wants to say. Leaders must make sure that all of their direct reports understand what is expected from them. Having multiple direct reports is a good thing, but it is also a burden. A great leader understands that no matter how many different reports there are from multiple team members if the only thing that everyone understands is the “what’s” and “how’s” of the mission, it will not lead to a successful project. Effective leadership must build trust and confidence in all of their direct reports so that each one feels heard and understood.
Finally, another quality of an effective leadership style is to anticipate the typical behaviors of their team members. A great leader knows how to put themselves in their team members’ shoes to understand their needs better and wants. They also can recognize when something needs to change and how to bring about change. This type of leadership is one of the most difficult, as it requires intuition and a great deal of tact.