It can be difficult to bring change into an organization. People can occasionally be reluctant to embrace change and may advocate for preserving the status quo. Even in challenging circumstances, a competent leader can contribute to making change feasible. Supporting change in a company and making the transition as seamless as possible helps to grasp the essential traits of a successful and effective leader—an individual who carries the mantle of being the company’s role model.
What is effective leadership?
To be a successful leader, you need to have a solid understanding of who you are and be assured in your capacity to guide not just the business as a whole but also each of your employees individually.
The model Leadership Practices, developed by two researchers, Kouzes and Posner, from the original work by Tom Peters, defines Leadership in a simple but effective manner.
Over a first five-year period, over 1,000 top-performing leaders—and their “followers” too—were studied as part of Kouzes and Posner’s research to determine what made them effective. The study effort involves asking leaders and followers questions about the following, combining the two perspectives:
- What characteristics do leaders think they need to be successful?
- What characteristics individuals being led thought were significant when they felt well-guided.
When the study team analyzed the data, they found a pattern of agreement between leaders and those they were leading on the actions that drove individuals to do amazing things in organizations. These five disciplines of leadership were later formalized. Depending on your difficulties, different practices may require various features, but you will eventually need to use them all. Both leaders and followers agree that when leaders are at their best, they inspire, enable, model, and encourage. And they achieved this by deciding to adhere to specific behaviors and ideals.
The five practices dictated by the study are:
Challenge the Process
The team’s leader frequently needs to explore uncharted areas, which requires them to take risks or breach the law while facing the unknown. A leader needs to be able to speak up about the issues that matter and be aggressive when expressing what they need and want from their team and for their team to accomplish this. A successful leader is prepared to overcome all difficulties and challenges to achieve the organization’s and personal goals.
Leaders benefit from and learn from adversity and challenging circumstances. They are risk-takers who see failure as an opportunity to learn and develop, provided it is not the result of subpar performance. They are early adopters as well. They look for solutions that seem to work and then demand that they be enhanced. They compete around the clock. Think about what aspect of your organization’s work needs to be questioned, even if it appears to be working. Do you provide ideas you wish to use while letting others contribute theirs? Are you willing to take chances and let others take them on your behalf?
Inspire a shared vision
According to Kouzes and Posner’s research, people are best driven by imaginative thoughts rather than fear or reward. Having a vision is less important here than skillfully conveying it to others so they may adopt it. Future-focused, great leaders strive to inspire others with their passion, zeal, and emotion. With this sense of a common goal, they want to recruit individuals.
- Create an inspiring and ennobling future in which people are inspired by the organization’s or team’s vision.
- Enlist people in this shared vision by focusing on their beliefs, passions, aspirations, and values.
Enable others to move forward
An effective leader must have excellent communication abilities. However, communication is not only about saying what you want to happen; it’s also about having the capacity to pay attention to what other people have to say. In addition to clearly and eloquently expressing their thoughts and plans, great leaders also pay close attention to comments and have an open mind.
They should be able to empower others and forge a more cohesive team, which is advantageous to all parties. They can accomplish this because they are aware of the team’s collective and individual strengths and limitations. They can use their strong communication abilities to develop bonds with and among team members. They increase efficiency by fostering positive relationships amongst teams.
By sharing their passions and tales, leaders may stoke the zeal of their followers. Even modest victories are cause for celebration. They take on challenging initiatives while appreciating others’ efforts. They:
- Look for and acknowledge team and individual contributions to each project’s success.
- Regularly recognize team and individual successes, and seek out fun and creative methods to do so.
Model for Others
Everyone has had a boss at some time in their career who has asked them to do something they don’t often do, like be early for a meeting, only to be late themselves. Doing what I say doesn’t make you likable, and your team won’t respect you if you have that attitude. A good leader sets an example for others to follow and demonstrates the behavior they want from them. You should work hard yourself if you want your colleagues to work hard. By living according to your principles, you gain the team’s respect and loyalty, and you’ll soon see that they are imitating you.
Modeling is being willing to take the initiative and exhibit the behaviors you want others to demonstrate before asking them to do so. People are more likely to trust what their leaders regularly do than hear them say. Excellent leaders should show the desired behavior, and more specifically:
- Set a positive example for others by acting in accordance with your organization’s principles and values.
- Create tiny victories that encourage development in both people and teams, then build on them to keep the momentum going.
Encourage a healthy space
Most of us have undoubtedly worked under a boss who quickly praised the team’s efforts and accomplishments. This leader is ineffective. An excellent leader values teamwork and is eager to give the team recognition and credit for a well-done job. They acknowledge that the team’s collective efforts led to success and accomplishments. A leader is only as effective as the group supporting them. A successful leader may win the team’s respect and affection by sharing the spotlight. Nobody wants to follow a selfish leader, after all.
If you are a manager, CEO, or business owner, you are likely to lead a team or teams of employees looking to you for direction. The more leadership qualities you possess, the better leader you’ll be. How you can make a difference depends on the traits you are willing to work on. These traits will be a game-changer for you and the organization.