Lead by Your Example

While no two leaders possess exactly the same personality or leadership style, effective leaders generally demonstrate similar characteristics. They frequently exhibit a contagious enthusiasm for life, a genuine concern for others, an enhanced clarity of purpose, and a firm commitment to the achievement of worthwhile, predetermined goals. The magnetic force of effective leadership is a tool which draws on the ability to arouse in followers a desire to be like the leader—or to possess some of the admirable qualities and personality traits seen in the leader.

Effective leaders bring out the best in their team members. To do so, they employ leadership traits which can be divided into three major areas: attitudes, behavior, and people skills.

Effective leaders build a diverse group of people into a smoothly functioning team. Sometimes the people in an organization all work hard, believe in the purpose of the organization and are loyal, but the organization fails to achieve its goals. Team members may all possess a similar vision of the organization’s ultimate goal, but they move along different paths in working toward its achievement. The people involved are not working as a team. Teamwork emphasizes improved interpersonal relationships; it makes use of the participation of the team members in planning and in carrying out actions in a partnership for success.

To help the people work as a winning team, effective leaders are like quarterbacks who call the plays, while each team member fulfills an assigned role. If the quarterback’s only direction is to urge the players to score on this play, efforts are uncoordinated. Confused players are quite likely to decide to execute different plays, and the team never scores. But when each one fulfills a specific, assigned role, the organization functions as a team and the goal is reached.

Effective leaders help each team player receive the proper assignment, ensure the team member knows how to execute the task, and are committed to producing measurable and appropriate results. Consequently, effective leaders hold each team member accountable and provides feedback to support continued success.

The demand for effective leaders is heard throughout the business world, and the rewards are unlimited. Effective leaders often have the ability to make decisions, to set goals, and to achieve a level of success far above the average. But achievement through leadership is always based on sound planning and persistent effort in addition to knowledge and skills. The development of those skills and the cultivation of the knowledge and attitudes required to use them is the basis for becoming an effective leader.

Reprinted with permission from LMI Journal Volume III, Number 11


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