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11 Points for Effective Leadership


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This has got to be one of our most simple, yet difficult entries. Because the “How”is easy; it’s the “DO” that is the real bear. Being an effective leader can be a tricky task to undertake but… Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Here are 11 points to help you on your journey to becoming an effective leader.

1. “You are remembered for the rules you break.” Just as Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, by definition, leaders break rules (otherwise they would be running with the pack). “Carefully” select which traditional rules to break (remember – you will be remembered by your choices). Just “because it’s always been done that way” makes a great qualifier for your short list of ideas of which rules to break.

2. Be proficient, AKA “know your stuff”. You arrive at a level of leadership because you have spent the time and energy to study, and have solutions (or at least know where to find them). A natural leader is so because they solve people’s challenges.

3. Bond and train as a team. Because people value safety, they often just learn what is expected of them in their jobs. Training as a group creates real bonds among the team members and assists the single worker to see how what THEY do, relates and impacts others.

4. Keep the information flowing. Nature hates a void. If you keep information away from your people, rumor will fill the void around the proverbial water cooler. This is a simple concept, and fear in leaders prevents data from being free. Avoid this pitfall. Your people will gain trust and respect for you as you share openly important information.

5. Praise publicly, criticize privately. The one thing a human wants that is more long lasting then money is to be recognized “in front of their peers”. This is why you see “employee of the month” parking. The spot is awarded in a company meeting. It gives ‘bragging rights’ to the person, and costs are nil. Applaud (acknowledge positively) every forward movement, no matter how small. It can be as simple as saying, “Great Stuff”, to a person, when the rest (at least most) of the team can hear it.

6. Take responsibility for your actions. If you don’t experience failure, you are not setting the goals of the mission high enough. When things go wrong, own the sub-optimal results and look for ways to fix the scenario you find you and your team in.

7. Set an example. Think about how a child wants to grow up to be like a parent. It isn’t easy out performing others (staying up late getting ‘IT’ done). But, this is how inspiration is created. Be willing to go the extra mile.

8. Focus on clear communications. The major failure here for most leaders is recognizing it’s a Two-Way street. Not you, handing out edicts. Ask people what they thought they heard you say. You will be surprised at how a person’s ‘filters’ change what you thought you said.

9. Don’t forget the payoff. At the end of the day, it is the followers that determine if a leader is good, or not. Keep in mind that the ‘win’ is for the troops – not just you.

10. Create a culture and climate that encompasses ‘can do’ and safety. Remember Step 6 for you? Create a setting where it is OK to reach, and sometimes not make it. Same as Step 6, only this is for your folks. Make sure your people realize that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and find solutions.

11. Leadership development is self-development. In order to be the most effective leader, don’t forget to continue to develop yourself. It’s easy to get so caught up taking care of running everyone else that you forget about yourself. Remember – if your ‘pitcher is empty’, how can you nourish anyone else!




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