[December 22, 2018] An effective leader is one who develops plans and shepherds their team through their project plan, more often than not achieving their objectives. However, that is what a good manager does, too. To be more than just effective, you need a mix of cultivated skills and behaviors to truly lead your team.
Leaders do more than boost morale and give directions. They will model the behaviors they want others to follow. Good leaders provide a vision others can believe in, and then they actively support people as they work toward that shared vision.
Good leaders accept honest feedback and criticism without seeing it as a personal attack. Furthermore, they give honest feedback and criticism without punishing innocent mistakes, creating trust. Great leaders learn from failures without seeking scapegoats to take the blame. They talk to people at their level and in their “language”. They recognize when what they’re doing isn’t working and are willing to change.
There are a number of practical ways to achieve the above. If you want people to put in long hours, be the first in the office and the last to leave. Conversely, ordering people to work Saturday while you’re out on that day will erode morale and productivity.
You need to create a vision of where you want the organization to be that is both achievable and practical, not a utopian vision that is so impossible that no one can achieve it. They set “SMART” goals, creating plans with specific steps everyone must take to move toward the goal. Understanding the bigger picture, they can determine the value of various projects and choose those that move the group toward that final vision.
Develop active listening so that you truly understand what people are telling you and better understand their point of view. That doesn’t mean you give up decision making authority or have to give people extra weight because they’re more emotionally invested in their point of view than others. You can learn how to talk to people in their in-group language like technical terminology, legalese, and their native language. Learn how to communicate ideas clearly and directly; this may require abandoning the abstract, vague language that too many think shows how smart they are and how in touch they are with various management trends.
Good leaders are constantly learning. They learn how processes actually operate instead of acting based on their assumptions. They learn about changing technology, laws, industry regulations and their people. If they don’t know something, they ask. They admit when they don’t know the answer but will work with the questioner to find the right answer. When they are more knowledgeable than others, they become the teachers. They are open with information others need. This leads others to come to them for information and assistance.
We recommend reading the article at https://www.coachdirectors.co.uk/be-more-than-just-an-effective-leader/ for more tips on how to graduate from being an effective leader to a great one.