I have always believed that as HR professionals one of our primary responsibilities is to assist our business partners to become effective leaders. Today, more than ever, we need effective leadership. As you know there has been a mountain of literature on leadership and trying to synthesize it for our leaders so that they can incorporate into their day to day work life becomes daunting.
What I want to share with you in this blog is a list of traits of effective leadership that I have developed over the years by watching and working for many leaders. Some were great; some were good but unlucky; and some were poor. But I learned from them all. In addition, I must give credit to the numerous writers on leadership for putting forth ideas and concepts that has shaped my thinking. Following is the list:
HAVE A VISION. The vision must incorporate not only the desired outcome but contain the values by which it is to be attained. Effective leaders know that achievements that don’t respect staff, the environment, shareholders, clients and the community dilute the achievement.
DREAM BIG DREAMS. Don’t be afraid to dream. It gives a destination to move towards. But be realistic in the pursuit of the dream. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Implementation should be within existing resources while a stretch obtainable for staff.
TAKE RISKS. Nothing significant was ever achieved without risks and by definition risks carry with it the significant potential for failure. Don’t curse failure, learn from it. Take responsibility for the outcome and don’t look for someone to blame.
BE PREPARED. The more prepared a leader is the better the results. Preparation includes, analyzing all available data, listening to experts and most importantly listening to frontline staff. Staff knows the good the bad the ugly of the frontlines and can provide valuable input to mitigate risks.
LEAVE THINGS BETTER THAN YOU FOUND THEM. It’s about the vision and mission of the organization. A leader should try to make a positive difference. The reward will come as a consequence of the achievements and not as an end in itself.
DEVELOP STAFF. Well prepared staff is the best guarantee for success. Effective delegation, recognition and development will provide an environment whereby staff will commit their discretionary effort to achieve the organization’s vision and mission.
BE DRIVEN BY VALUES. To lead staff effectively a leader must demonstrate integrity above all, as well as, lead by example the organization’s values. The leader must live these values even when no-one is watching. One can’t fake integrity.
NEVER STOP LEARNING. Acquiring and consistently updating knowledge of the job, as well as, of people in general is crucial to effective leadership. Cultural norms and human trends are a necessary knowledge to become an effective leader .