What Do Effective Leaders Do?
The one thing effective leaders do. Do you do this too?
by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions
When you ask people what do effective leaders do you will get a range of responses – set strategy, provide direction, develop people, motivate people, create alignment of activities, and so the list goes on. All true, but they are all facets of one thing,
To discover this, ask yourself what should an effective leader do? The one thing an effective leader should do is to get results.
All the earlier responses are actions that an effective leader makes in order to get results. If it were that easy then virtually all leaders, by dint of what they do, could be effective leaders. But this is not the case. A leader is not effective because of what he or she does, but rather because of how he or she does it. An effective leader is followed, and people follow the leader for who they are and not because of the position.
As such, it is how leaders lead that encourages and engages other people to follow and get results. The “how” is the individual’s leadership style, and this is made visible and tangible in the behaviours they exhibit when leading. This is important as people will pay more attention to what their leaders do than what they say, and if there is a conflict between (such as when the leader does not “walk the talk”) then people will follow the example of what is done rather than what is said.
There are six common leadership styles which are utilised by leaders, and which they switch between in the short-term on a frequent basis. These six styles provide a context in which a leader behaves, and depending on the leadership style the behaviours that exhibit can be very different. The leadership style used is a result of the individual’s perception of the situation at hand and how they need to adapt it, and their personal preference in leadership styles.
Six Leadership Styles
- Coercive leaders – demand immediate compliance.
- Authoritative leaders – mobilize people toward a vision.
- Affiliative leaders – create emotional bonds and harmony.
- Democratic leaders – build consensus through participation.
- Pace-setting leaders – expect excellence and self-direction.
- Coaching leaders – develop people for the future
Being an Effective Leader
So, to be an effective leader – a leader who gets results – you need to
- Be clear on what the results that you want are – ensure you articulate and communicate them clearly to everyone.
- Be clear on how you will achieve them, in doing this you need to:
- Use a suitable leadership style given the context of your particular situation.
- Adapt your behaviours to the style, but make sure that they provide the right example to others and for others to emulate.
- Switch between styles and behaviours as needed so you not only get the results, but you get them in the right way.
Remember, the difference between a good leader and a great leader is in the how.
Look at what you are looking to achieve as a leader. Once you are clear on what you have to do, and can articulate it, then ask yourself how can I do this to be effective?
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