Mindstate Motivation Blog

How to Actually Define Whether You Are an Effective Leader

Now…this will blow your mind but it is absolutely a true story!  For you Millennials, you will think I’m absolutely crazy!

When I was in grade school (I can’t remember which grade it was), I remember me and my class having to go to the school library.  The purpose of the visit was to be taught how to use the Dewey Decimal Classification—AKA, the Dewey Decimal System.

LOL—I can just hear the Millennial reader asking what the hell that is!! Or, maybe even—Is he crazy?   :<)

Who really needs it now given the digitizing of library information?  It is still used, officially, in libraries but my guess is nobody is thumbing through little cards in little wooden drawers looking up the location of some book or whatever.  card-catalog-194280_1920

Just do a quick digital search in the libraries very handy computer and bingo!

Anyway, back to my story…my class spent copious amounts of time with the librarian trying to cram the logic of the Dewey system into our heads.  True confession:  I never did grasp the whole concept.

To this day if someone asked me to find a book in the local library using that old system, I would panic.  I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Well, that’s the wonder of today’s digital, connected world.  I, nor you need to be fluent in understanding how to use the Dewey Decimal System to find something.

We can just go to our closest electronic device and “Google” whatever it is we are looking for.

Of course that takes time and it may not be time you or I may have.  That fact is my assumption in putting together this article about you defining whether you are an effective leader.

That is important to you because as I said in the description: If you don’t know what leadership is, how can you expect to become an effective leader?

And—each of us (you included) has to assume some leadership responsibilities from time to time.

My research as to what goes into defining an effective leader has come up with the following information.  You don’t have to Google it or use the Dewey Decimal System to find it!

Yes…you are very welcome! Now, enjoy.

Communicator–Neither yourself or other people can be led anywhere if there is not a clear understanding of why “going anywhere” is of personal benefit.  Open, honest, safe exchange of points of view on what “anywhere” means and why it is important is inspiring to all concerned.

Leading by Example— You can’t fake your way into being an effective and inspiring leader of yourself or anyone else!  The fact is you are exactly what you demonstrate both in your thoughts and actions.  Showing an authentic willingness to actually do what is demanded projects a high-definition picture to others.

Commitment to People and Purpose— When you (in leading your life) and other people (when leading them) know that your commitment to them and to the purpose is felt “heart-deep,” all things are truly possible.

Learning from Others— Leading your life and/or leading other people is best accomplished through a team effort.  My thought on this is, why create best practices from scratch when you can create from the experiences of those who have gone before you.  The world around you is the best source of best practices for building the world you want…besides using that resource saves time and unnecessary effort!

Being Action Oriented— The point is you can possess all the important characteristics of being an effective leader but if you don’t think about them and then act on them consistently, they are worthless.  Furthermore, when you do take action, you do so having fully thought through the consequences of your actions.

Looking and Listening— This part of defining effective leadership has to do with objectively looking at and listening to yourself and each of your people.  The purpose of the step is to develop congruence between what you see and hear on both levels and what you actually do.  It is only through having congruence between what you see, hear and do that you can build trusting relationships.  In short, winning leaders can be trusted.

Empathizing— With empathy comes the clarity for you to care with congruence and objectivity so you can lead with a more collaborative focus.

Assessing and Adding as You Go—An effective leader has an ability to remain calm, deliberate, and balanced in analyzing situations and people so you can add appropriate clarity going forward.  It’s like the baseball legend, Yogi Berra, is reputed to have said: “If you don’t know where you’re going you may end up somewhere else.”  So, the power in this step is the effectiveness of any strategies for productive change will only be as good as the breadth and depth of information on which decisions are based and actions are taken.

Fostering Accountability— People want to know what they are expected to do.  Clear expectations are motivational to people.  Not only that, but people want to know why the expectations are what they are…why accomplishing the expectations is important.  They want to understand the importance both on a global and personal level.  The “why” gives them the emotion behind the logic of the expectations. Put another way, a significant percentage of goals are never achieved because there is no emotion tied to the achievement of the goal.  Logic alone will not drive people to perform to their best.

Constantly Evaluating— Leading effectively also has to do with where you, the organization, and its people are relative to the expectations, action plan steps and ultimate goals.  Looking more deeply, it’s about determining where you and/or your people are on the track to success; determining what has been done to get there; confirming what steps need to be accomplished to reach the ultimate goal; and, continuously reconfirming appropriate action is being taken.

Recognizing— A truly winning leader will always be willing to pause and recognize or celebrate people’s successes.  Let’s face it, providing appropriate recognition for a job well done instills passion in the recipient of the recognition.  With passion comes purpose; with purpose comes productive performance; and, with productive performance comes profit.

Inspiring— Your reality as a leader is you have no assurance your team members will in fact follow you.  Your success in such an endeavor is only as good as the team’s commitment to you and your mission.  People want to be inspired to do what you, as the leader, are asking them to do.  They need good rationale for taking the actions you request.  Trust them with a good rationale and they will emotionally commit too following your lead.

Personal Positioning— Your people don’t want to be told what to do from your position of power over them.  They won’t respond well.  They want to be emotionally touched by your inspiring personal presence.  To touch your people emotionally and thereby elicit their highest level of commitment to you and your ideas, you have to WALK WITH them.  What do I mean by that?  You choosing position power over personal power by either walking in front of or behind a lock-step row of people will result in mediocre performance at best.

So there you have a comprehensive definition of leadership so you can define whether you are an effective leader.

garylogonewbrownsmallWhat’s the verdict?  Are you an effective leader and if not, what specifically are you going to do about it?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.  

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Crop of GNCC ShotMindstate mentor, author, trainer and speaker, Gary Greenfield (@LifeRider) provides self-employed people inspirational insight and concise business ideas to help improve mindstate and minimize stress. He believes a mindstate that is positive and stress that is minimized helps self-employed people better profit through performance.

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