How To Be An Effective Leader

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To be an effective leader is something that all business owners and entrepreneurs continue to strive for. In this article I share several ways that you can be an effective leader, to inspire and motivate your team to perform well in their daily tasks.

Peter Drucker identified leadership as the ability to inspire vision and enhance an individual’s capability. This inspires them to go above and beyond merely achieving the organizational objectives set out. Those are not his exact words, but how I like to interpret his words.

Over the last 10 years, I would have spent perhaps 20% of my time trying to understand and improve my leadership skills. The reason is, that I waited until I had the right title to focus on how to be an effective leader. I realized I spent too much time firefighting and accomplishing tasks than trying to develop my leadership traits.  

Whether you aspire to be an Entrepreneur or prefer to join the corporate sector, leadership is one skill that will make you stand out from your competition. When you think of being a leader, the terms, commanding, pushy, and being able to throw your weight about are probably what give you the sense of what a good leader is.

Wrong.

In fact, it is the exact opposite. The more commanding or pushy you are, the greater your tendency to drive exceptional workers away.

I have crafted this article to suit an Entrepreneur as we are seeing more and more talented individuals setting up their own businesses without a clear sense of how to manage or lead their businesses. I have broken this down into focus areas to help you draw up a road map to being an effective leader.

how to be an effective leader

Focus #1: Know what you stand for, and also what you do not stand for.

This is crucial, you need to know your boundaries. This is easily linked to focus#2 but the starting point of it. To be an effective leader, you need to know where to draw the line. For example, what are your tolerance levels for unethical workers or slackers, and would you just kick them out or help them improve themselves?

I have found that the latter actually helps. If you are committed to the development of those who work for you, then you should identify why their work is poor or why they are slacking off. Would you ask yourself “has it been a sudden change that caused this, or is it because they are simply not doing what they are good at?”. That is being an effective leader as you will not only guarantee results but also long-term loyalty!

Focus #2: Integrity and values

Very closely linked to the first focus. The reason I have brought this in here is to emphasize on how vital integrity is, not just in your business but to society. You can choose to be a leader with zero integrity, and that is fine, no disrespect to anyone who chooses that. But lack of integrity can easily be linked to unethical practices which can be bad for business. Therefore, it is a lot easier to simply be ethical and do the right thing from the beginning. This also helps you avoid having to resort to unethical practices without your knowledge. Remember, those under you are observing you and you will build a community of individuals who do not have integrity. And that, in my humble opinion, is not a trait of an effective leader.

Focus #3: Improve your communication

If you consider what has taken place in Sri Lanka, one of the key glaring issues is the lack of communication. Now I have no intention of elaborating on that, as my political opinion is mine and mine alone, but the bottom line is that communication is extremely essential when you are building or growing your venture:

1. Clear communication will help you to educate your team on the overall vision of the organization and performance metrics 

This in turn will ensure each individual is clear on their role in achieving this vision. Poor communication or lack of it will only guarantee individuals who work for their personal agendas or pull in different directions, and ultimately the inability to achieve your vision renders your business ineffective.

2. Transparent and consistent communication when there are issues, specifically during a crisis such as a COVID lockdown or if profits are affected and changes need to be made 

Communication is the single most effective way (aside from other aspects like the culture you have created and the loyalty within your team) to ensure your team sticks together to come out of a crisis stronger than ever. This requires empathy on your part, simply put, get yourself in the shoes of those in your team before you communicate and speak to them directly from your heart, not from a piece of paper.

Focus #4: Lose the mentality that it is bad to hire people who know more than you

This is crucial, we tend to think that hiring those who are more knowledgeable threatens our position. It is a very common misconception in Sri Lanka. But effective leaders know where their core strengths do not lie and hire to strengthen their shortcomings. Leaders do not need to know everything, we are all human after all.

Focus #5: Learn to be flexible

While setting performance metrics is imperative, equally imperative is the need to have checks and balances. But just as equal in importance is the ability to know when to change your strategy if things do not go according to plan. We are all well aware we live in a volatile, uncertain, and dynamically changing marketplace with widespread impacts on all businesses. An effective leader will be able to understand when it is time to rethink strategy in order to grow during a challenging period.

Conclusion

To conclude, effective leaders are made over time and not born. I am fairly certain that would be a relief to many of you. Work on the above points early on and you will find yourself in a position where you can add tremendous value to your venture!

I hope this article helped you to understand how you can be an effective leader! If you had any doubts, I hope you managed to get this clarified after reading this. Still having doubts? – contact us without hesitation. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can and help you out.

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