This article not only lists the characteristics of effective leaders but also it can act as a guideline for our own behavior if we are in a leadership position. Often, we receive no guidance once we have been promoted and leadership positions can be quite lonely.
- They always seek knowledge: Effective leaders are constantly learning. They read, they attend seminars, they listen to tapes and CDs, they constantly ask questions and seek out skilled people to mentor them. These leaders develop new skills, develop new interests and continually expand their ability to achieve results. Most the time their learning is self driven as they find that increased knowledge also creates a situation where the unknown starts to become recognizable. This in itself fuels the desire to learn more.
- On top of that – you need to share your knowledge with others.
- They Contribute. Effective leaders have a strong sense of responsibility. They are service orientated and they have a powerful desire to contribute. They are constantly looking for people to whom they can contribute to help them raise their performance.
- They Believe in People. These effective leaders are cheerful, humorous and happy but most importantly they are optimistic and their optimism rubs off on other people. Because they are so positive, they infect the people around them with the same hope. They don’t focus on people’s weaknesses but instead, try and develop their strengths. Because they are so positive and have such a strong belief in people, staff members enjoy working for them.
- They are Excited About Their Role. Effective leaders are constantly excited and enthusiastic about what they’re doing. Their excitement and enthusiasm has a powerful effect on the people around them. They cannot avoid being caught up in the climate for personal development and growth.
- They are Catalysts. Effective leaders harness the synergy of the group and apply their productive efforts to improve things. Because they believe in other people’s ability and potential, delegation is not an issue so their style of supervision is adapted for each individual.
- They Think. Each effective leader puts him time aside every single day without fail, to think. This thinking time is used for setting priorities, designing changes, looking at ways of implementing changes, reviewing their own performance, reviewing the performance of other people in the team, planning and working your ways to implement improvements.
- They Have an Abundance Mentality Effective leaders have no problems with sharing ideas, experience or documentation to help others. They don’t withhold information instead, they distribute as much information as possible to people who may be interested. Effective leaders are givers. They share without expecting anything in return.
There are many benefits of having effective leaders, at every level of the organization and some of these include:
- Proactivity: The ability to set and achieve our own objectives.
- Accountability: Taking responsibility for our mistakes and making them right.
- Motivation: That drive that gets us to the office early and keeps us focused throughout the day.
- Confidence: Being able to present new ideas and having the self-assurance in ourselves and our capabilities.
- Harmonization: Being a team player, making decisions and acting in-line with organizational values.
- Enthusiasm: Having the energy and “juice!” to overcome any challenges we come across.
- Inspiration: The ability to move people toward a cause that is greater than themselves.
- Self-awareness: Understanding ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses and taking on the challenge of becoming better.
Traits of ineffective leaders include:
Micro-managing. Some leaders just want to put their hands into everything. They have already delegated some tasks yet when their subordinates start working on those tasks the best way they know, the bad leader steps in and tells them to do the work in a particular way that they want to. Micro-managing may give the bad leader a boost of ego and help him feel important. But it will simply be damaging to the strategy already devised by the worker.
Lack of delegation. The flip side of the micro-manager is the leader who fails to delegate tasks. He feels that he is superman, able to do everything given the time. This leader feels that he is God’s gift to the organization and that nothing will ever get done excellently if he does not do it. But the lack of delegation is nothing but bad leadership! When crunch time comes and this leader has not completed all the tasks he claimed for himself, he drives the organization to high gear and starts imposing all sorts of impossible demands to his team.
Getting the credit for themself. One of bad leadership traits is getting credit for oneself only. Even if it were a team effort, a leader claims the credits all by himself. The efforts, time spent and contributions of other team members get lost in the dazzle of the leader’s claims. This is a sure way to bring motivation and teamwork down. When the workers feel that they are not valued and that their efforts are taken for granted, they will continue working yet, without the passion and excellence that they could have given.
Too much criticizing. Constructive criticisms are good. But if there is too much criticizing at the leader’s office, there must be something wrong. Either the organization’s performance is way below average or the manager is just one big loser sitting in the leader’s chair! Besides, another question that must be answered is whether or not the leader is merely bringing up his self-esteem instead of helping his subordinates.