The business environment has never been more demanding than it is right now. Factors that would have been exceptional not long ago—global competition, turbulent markets, demanding shareholders and customers, and constantly changing technology—are an everyday fact of life.
More than ever, successful organizations depend on the quality of their leadership. And successful leadership depends on broad-strokes preparation based on principles you can apply in any situation, however volatile.
Here are some foundational principles that will make you a more effective leader:
Be both flexible and resolute. To be an effective leader, you have to learn to balance being unbending and being adaptable. Great leaders know how to go with the flow without losing direction, moving their organization forward with resiliency and alertness.
Delegate but don’t be demanding. Too many leaders feel they need to control every little thing. Allow others to do their job and do it well. When you delegate wisely and often, you’re developing leadership skills, confidence and trust within your team.
Set direction but make it compelling. Every employee needs some degree of direction. Set specific and measurable goals with your employees, then regularly monitor their progress against their own goals as well as their contribution toward organizational goals.
Communicate with honesty and clarity. Many leaders don’t communicate clearly enough or often enough. Make the effort to inform, report, and communicate concisely so people are free to work without information gaps.
Be accessible and available. At its core, your leadership is all about your people. When someone needs you, it’s time to look up, make eye contact, set aside your work and your phone and any other distractions, and focus on the person standing in front of you.
Don’t just solve problems, create lasting solutions. There will always be problems, and there will always be a need for leaders who can create timely solutions that endure. Too many leaders settle for quick fixes that often cause bigger problems down the road. Focus on healing the cause of the problem instead of treating the symptoms.
Consistently recognize the achievements of others. Every employee wants to do a good job. And when they do, they want recognition from their leader. The simple act of recognizing and rewarding employees for a job well done is enough to set you apart as a leader.
Lead From Within: If you want to grow into a truly effective leader, start today to cultivate these skills. Then, when the time comes, you’ll be prepared to steer your company and people in the right direction.
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