It’s the end of the day and I pull my office door close behind me. It’s been a rough day. I wonder about my leadership during the situation with John today. The difficult conversation was something I could not postpone any longer, without causing further damage. As I leave the building I replay the day’s events in my mind, trying to find a framework against which I can measure whether I am an effective leader or not.
I am sure you have had days like this. On these days you doubt yourself and your effectiveness as a leader. You grope around, trying to find some kind of framework to give some structure to your thoughts.
I hope I am not the only one experiencing this!
Becoming an Effective Leader is Not Magic
In my experience, you are not magically transformed into an effective leader one morning when you are having your wake – up cup of coffee. You have to work hard at it, cultivating certain qualities and building it into your leadership style. Building these qualities into your individual leadership style will enable you to become a more effective leader.
An Effective Leader Cultivate Integrity
Integrity lies at the core of effective leadership. Without integrity, your leadership will weaken from the inside out. Integrity is the one thing keeping your together under pressure. Without it you become prone to collapsing under scrutiny and find it difficult to handle pressure.
An Effective Leader Take Responsibility
Leadership is not always easy. You have to take a lot of strain sometimes, especially when you take the final responsibility for the outcomes of decisions. Taking responsibility means the buck stops with you.
An Effective Leader Focus on Interdependence
Leadership is achieving predefined goals through people. You cannot do everything alone. If you could, you would not need to lead people. You therefore have to trust them to be dependable. In turn you must be dependable for them as well. This interdependent relationship is very important if you are growing towards being an effective leader.
An Effective Leader Encourage Innovation
You are responsible for releasing creativity in the organization. You do this through encouraging innovation, coaching people to think and come up with solutions to problems. Innovation is important because solutions to problems yesterday will not work for problems tomorrow. You encourage innovation by letting people know the value of their opinion and by welcoming their ideas.
An Effective Leader Encourage Collaboration
Collaboration is the flip side of Interdependence. You have to collaborate across functions and departments in order to come up with answers to challenges. Collaboration strengthens communication and invites everyone to take part in the dialogue and air their opinions.
Becoming an effective leader is not magic, it is hard work. Cultivating these qualities as part of your leadership style takes effort, but it is worth it. It provides you with a basis to measure your leadership effectiveness when difficult days come along.
Do you sometimes doubt your leadership effectiveness on difficult days? Tell us about it.