Curious on how to become a more effective leader? During our many interactions with business managers, executives and leaders there are numerous traits that set the most effective leaders apart from the sea of mediocrity.
Here are the five most common:
- Focus on facts and observations. A court of law makes judgements based on a review of the facts. Effective leaders use facts and observations to make decisions and judgement. In doing so, decisions are often more effective, and allow for what I call “unplanned preparation.” In the event comments or decisions are challenged, the leader will already have sufficient facts to support or debate concerns.
- Lead with logic, not emotions. How rational (and fair) would you expect a police officers decision to be after engaging in a high speed chase? Most leaders are overwhelmed with information and tend to let looming deadlines and other challenges influence their actions and particularly their demeanor. The most effective leaders always lead with logic and dispel emotion from entering their decisions.
- Face time. The most effective leaders invest time; in fact they are committed to spending time meeting with their team face to face. They recognize that team effectiveness requires the engagement of members, which can only be done through face to face discussion and information exchange.
- Knowledge trumps skill. Most of the greatest organizational leaders recognize that they must have an understanding of how their team and organization function; however they do not need to be technically versed in every aspect of the team’s role. Some of the greatest team coaches were never an expert in every position, but understood the dynamics of their team and how to motivate and build talent.
- Filter versus forward. The worst leaders (or the most inexperienced ones) are those who take feedback from outside their team (i.e. corporate feedback, customer feedback) and simply transmit or pass along the information, without first understanding it’s impacts on the team members and their mission. If you are leading a team and not pushing back and questioning the validity or premise of some of the information you are asked to communicate, you are not being effective as a leader.
Not sure how to integrate these into your daily activities? Start by becoming more self aware of how you interact and manage your team. Through self-awareness you will start to recognize opportunities to alter your actions and language in order to become more effective.
© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.
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