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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Traits of an Effective Leader

Office morale and productivity are exceedingly dependent on the management skills of the team's leader. In addition to garnering experience and understanding the logistics of a project, successful leaders exhibit the ability to:

Lead by Example

"Do as I say, not as I do" can be a difficult mantra for subordinates to swallow. Instead, follow in the footsteps of the great leaders that have served before you. For example, Alexander the Great, rather than remaining safely behind during battle, would draw his sword and lead the charge. As a result of his skill to lead effectively, Alexander's men followed without question and won countless battles. In the business world, one cannot expect a team to put forth extra effort or make necessary sacrifices if their leader neglects to do so. Lead the charge by example when it comes to effectively carrying out team projects and your subordinates will be more apt to act accordingly.

Be Humble

Humility as a leadership trait may suggest a lack of toughness or drive for some. However, according to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Doty and Dan Gerdes, "When authentic humility is applied to relationships, mutual trust develops and stirs an abiding sense of loyalty and authentic modesty - creating an environment to achieve great things."

Setting egos aside gives way to new knowledge and collective intelligence. Leaders who acknowledge that they aren't the supreme authority on a particular subject are, in effect, inviting alternative points of view and suggestions. As a result, innovative methods are developed while your team is unified and individual triumphs are celebrated. Conversely, leaders who consistently tout the superiority of their own expertise are liable to rely on old habits and forgo emerging opportunities for success.

Stand by a Core Mission

Without setting a clear goal for the future, your business can end up taking costly detours when it comes to production and growth. Set goals, a mission statement and values and let them guide your business decisions. Most importantly, share these with your team and explain how you abide by the values you set for the business. If your entire team is on board with the same concepts, you'll reach your goals without as many setbacks.

Make a Mark

Unless you plan on living forever, your business will hopefully continue to thrive after you leave the helm. Make sure the business ideals that currently shape your business survive the transition. Clearly outline these ideals to your team now and put physical reminders of these principals in place. For example, David Ogilvy, founder of the supremely successful advertising agency of the same name, once said,
    “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

To symbolize this ideal, Ogilvy brought in Russian nesting dolls. Each doll, when opened, contained another smaller doll until one reaches the smallest doll, which represented the current leaders. Various sets of Russian nesting dolls still sit in the Ogilvy offices to remind current and future leaders of this principal.

Being a good leader requires more than just knowledge of the project and the necessary steps for completion. Effective leadership means nurturing and exhibiting the personal traits like those listed above. Team leaders who actively demonstrate these qualities in their own behavior will likely experience greater levels of business success.

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posted by Tiger Leasing @ 3:10 PM

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