Being an effective leader goes beyond the outdated paradigm of, “I’m the boss; do what I say.” A successful leader of any organization must learn how to break with tradition and take forward action in order to make a positive difference in the organization.
Vision and Strategy
A leader has to become the fountainhead which provides clarity of purpose and direction. The leader presents clear goals and a clear mission. That leader must also implement and evaluate the planning process and the steps towards reaching the goals.
However, in order to effectively implement and achieve goals, the leader must know how to communicate effectively. First and foremost, either deliver the mission and the goals by written or spoken words, but in either case, make sure your words are specific, easy to comprehend, organized, and motivational. Many failed leaders forget about the TONE behind the words. Think about words as positive tools, and know that you won’t receive positive results with negative words.
Also, a leader should welcome all opinions and ideas, rather than shutting them down. Employees should be able to contribute their input into the decision-making process. A good leader will recognize individual strengths among the people in the organization, and delegate tasks according to those strengths. Untapped talent is a place for frustration and even subversion. Provide avenues for employees to have individual successes and recognitions as well. Otherwise, you will have an apathetic workforce under your supervision.
An effective leader must ensure that the proper tools and resources are in place to do the job. Yet, he or she must also understand and appropriately apply the needed procedures, the requirements, regulations, and the policies that apply to the specialized expertise in this problem. In order to be most effective though, a good leader must create strong networks and alliances. After all, no man is an island; no man stands alone.
Once trust in the leadership is achieved, then the leader must lead daily. The workplace is basically a functioning habitat for a group of humans who are trying to produce an excellent result, and who are also trying to survive and advance themselves individually. If the leader does not seem sincere in her interest of the employees, then the workplace will not function at its maximum capabilities. A leader should have genuine concern for the employees’ wellness. As such, it is important to recognize that all time spent working should be fairly compensated, and that no employee should dedicate so much time to the job as to neglect life outside of the workplace.
When conflicts arise at the workplace, it is a leader’s job to step in and mediate. It is important to be impartial, listen to all sides of the conflict, and decide upon a strategy to mend the rift. Conflicts should not be ignored or swept under the rug, because in that case they will fester. Plus, you will be seen as shying away from conflict. Face conflicts head on before they escalate, and keep peace in the workplace this way.
Most people work better when they are not isolated. A leader should encourage cooperation within the organization; maybe even make it a mandatory exercise just for morale building. Also, assigning coaches and mentors to less experienced individuals is a way to recognize star employees and a way to ease the transition adequately for the newbies. These two practices will influence others toward a spirit of service and meaningful contributions towards the overall mission.
Along with this teamwork comes the ever-important strategy of recognizing and rewarding positive performance. You will be able to create an organizational culture which encourages quality service and high performance if you regularly provide positive reinforcement. There should be an automatic system of rewards in place so that everybody knows exactly how to achieve it. There should be no mystery in it: the steps and actions necessary for the rewards should be well-known throughout the organization. It should become a dependable and even a fun system. The best leader develops and enacts this rewards system, and with its success, it becomes a tradition.
Culture of Service
A leader is the liaison between the clients and the employees. That leader must anticipate and meet the needs of the client first and foremost. Moreover, he must create and sustain an organizational culture that encourages others to provide quality service essential to high performance.
Opportunities to learn, grow, and advance should be available continuously at your workplace. Moreover, instead of issuing punitive measures for mistakes, use those mistakes as portals to discovery. People learn more from mistakes than almost any other way. So take the mistake and turn it into a workshop, or at least a brainstorming session.
As you are the judge of other peoples’ performance, let them be the judge of yours. Ask for feedback about the job you are doing. If the employee’s don’t get a chance to express this in an upfront manner, the will do it in a more underhanded way, rest assured. However, don’t just ask for feedback unless you plan to have an open mind about changing if need be.
Finally, make sure that the meetings you hold are focused and purposeful. List the priorities for the meeting, and work on the most important tasks or ideas first.
Effective leaders harness the talents of others by providing them with a platform to exercise their creativity and innovation. When a true leader is present during the decision making process, he or she will describe and suggest new ways of looking at the old issues. If that happens to involve a degree of risk-taking, then so be it. It will be well worth it when the individual passions and special talents of your group arise.
With that feedback and after that change you make, based upon the words of the stakeholders, you should now be able to have a good degree of trust within your organization. If you encourage opposing viewpoints, demonstrate high ethical standards, and create an environment of mutual trust and respect, then you have achieved cutting-edge leadership skills.
Since it is important to be able to measure success and attainments, the leader must have purposeful and effective meetings to scan and measure results. Once progress is being made on the overall mission and the individual goals within it, the leader must make sure that progress is continuous and that the individuals on the team are making headway.