Regina Maniam asked:
Have you felt the need for an effective leader in your work place? Have you felt frustrated that there are a lot of activities and yet nothing seems to get accomplished? Targets and objectives are forgotten. Is it then time for you to do something about it?
It is quite typical for most people to follow the leader and be content. But maybe you are different and deep inside you are leadership qualities that make you want to take the lead and achieve results.
Even if you think you naturally have some qualities of a leader, you still need knowledge, practice, drive, tenacity, experience and enthusiasm to be a good leader.
To be an effective leader, one must be able to influence others to accomplish goals, to contribute to the organization and cohesion of a group. Leadership is not about using positional power to drive people to meet objectives. It is the ability to bring together the team so that they can see the value of the end result that needs to be achieved. This way the actions they take are driven by a bigger purpose.
There can be no leader without followers. The people must want to follow you. How can you achieve this?
You yourself must know the vision of the organization. Having a clear sense of hierarchy, knowing who the bosses are, who to talk to, the organization’s goals and objectives, and how the organization works is the only way to show others you know what you are doing.
Being an effective leader is not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of what you want your subordinates to be.
There is also the concept of servant leadership originally written about by Robert K. Greenleaf. He says that its central meaning is that the great leader is first experienced as a servant to others, and that this simple fact is central to the leader’s greatness. True leadership emerges from those whose primary motivation is a deep desire to help others.
If the team has trust and confidence in you, they will go that extra mile. This can only be built on good relationships, trustworthiness and high ethics. The way you deal with people will decide whether you get the team’s trust and confidence. Servant leadership is very effective in achieving this. The team will know that you will not ask them to do anything that you yourself will not do.
Good communication capability is important for good leadership. You must be able to clearly state the end result desired and the steps required. It also includes the ability to listen and respond accordingly to the team. Communication to the users or customers and to management is also crucial. There will be good and bad news to be communicated to the different parties. You need to have the capability to tactfully handle especially the bad news.
Situational leadership is another aspect where you need to assess situations, weigh the pros and cons and make decisions. You need to use critical thinking skills and make judgment calls to solve certain issues. As you make effective leadership decisions, you will win your team’s respect.
Leaders do not have to know everything and neither should you claim so. While you may have some skills, you should know and effectively use the skills and talents of your subordinates. This takes time and patience. You may be tempted to take certain actions yourself as your subordinate takes a longer time. Remember though that you are taking time from your leadership responsibilities and also taking away your subordinate’s opportunity to gain experience.
Being an effective leader takes time, patience and tenacity. If you have the drive and desire to be an effective leader, then start whatever the position you are at right now. Take charge and achieve results with whichever team you are with right now. There are people who will happily give up the hard work required of a leader. One caution though. They may want the glory. You may need to give them the glory but you will be the one to get the experience. Servant leadership is a fine place to start.