Firstly, a leader is someone who helps others become more than they ever thought possible. Leadership is about unlocking untapped potential and not about telling people what to do. Inspiring individuals to achieve their goals and helping them get there is the epitome of a true leader. Exceptional leaders determine the difference between an employee passionate about what they are doing versus an employee that is just following instructions. Leaders need to identify the qualities they need to possess to be a leader and the type of leadership style that needs to be used.
To be an effective leader in organizations today, one needs to determine the vision that will steer the organization in the appropriate direction. Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times before inventing the light bulb, but he had a vision that he would succeed. Henry Ford had a vision that he would produce cars that families could afford. Nelson Mandela’s vision was to create an integrated and democratic South Africa. The greatest leaders all started with a simple vision.
Qualities of an Effective Leader
- · A good leader has a commendable character. It is of paramount importance that a leader is trustworthy to lead others. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honesty and integrity.
- A good leader is enthusiastic about their work. People will react more openly to a leader who is passionate. A leader needs to be a source of inspiration and motivate their employees to achieve goals. An enthusiastic leader will not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and assist employees.
- A leader needs to remain calm in situations of uncertainty. Individuals look to the leader during times of insecurity and find encouragement when the leader portrays self-confidence and a positive temperament.
- An effective leader is one who has a high level of confidence. Such leaders inspire confidence in others to perform their tasks effectively.
- A leader needs to be someone who strives for excellence. A successful leader is one that maintains high standards and is hands-on in achieving excellence in all areas.
Identifying your Leadership Style
A good leader knows that one leadership style cannot be adapted to all situations. It is therefore important to gain knowledge about the various types of leadership styles and when they can be applied.
- · Transactional Leadership. This type of leadership style is where employees agree to obey their leader when they accept the job. The leader has the ability to reprimand employees if their work doesn’t meet the appropriate benchmark.
- · Autocratic Leadership. A leader that adapts an autocratic style is one who has complete power over their staff. Individuals have little opportunity to make positive contributions, even if it benefits the company. When decisions have to be made quickly, autocratic leadership is the most appropriate. Leaders must know when to use this type of style as it may lead to high staff turnover.
- · Bureaucratic Leadership. A leader who adapts a bureaucratic approach ensure their staff follow procedures accurately. This type of style is often adapted in organizations where machinery is used or where there are lethal substances.
- · Charismatic Leadership. A leader who uses a charismatic style of leadership is one who is alluring and uses motivation within the workplace. The disadvantage of a charismatic leader is that they tend to believe more in themselves than in their employees.
- · Participative Leadership. Leaders who use a participative or democratic approach make the final decisions, but they include employees in the decision-making process. This approach is greatly recommended as employees feel they are in control, which motivates them to work hard. The decision- making process is often slow, but the end result is good.
- · Servant Leadership. People who use this leadership style lead with generosity. This type of leadership directly resembles the participative leadership, because all employees are involved in the decision -making process. However, the leader prefers to stay out of the limelight and let the other employees take the acknowledgment.
Leaders need to possess certain qualities to be an effective leader. However, each quality can be developed and strengthened. An effective leader, whether they possess certain qualities or not, will be assiduous to consistently develop themselves for their leadership position. Understanding various leadership styles can assist leaders in their roles. Leadership can’t be painted with the same brush and understanding the various styles can help leaders adapt according to a specific situation.