As we sail through the 21st century, the critical need for effective leadership is becoming more and more obvious. It is so apparent that graduate courses in leadership studies are popping up in universities all over the country! Finally, the importance of leadership and the qualities that define a true leader are getting the recognition they deserve. While there are many definitions of leadership, here is one that we think fits the bill:
“Leadership is the ability to articulate a vision, to embrace the values of that vision, and nurture an environment where everyone is motivated to reach the organization’s goals and their own personal needs.” ~Greg L. Thomas
There are many qualities that characterize effective modern leadership, including…
- Vision—This is the meaningful communication of your organization’s mission that vividly describes what things can be like in a better future. A descriptive vision encourages team building, gives employees a sense of common purpose, and increases self-esteem. In the past, the vision came from the “higher ups,” but now many leaders understand the value of including team members who are closer to the work environment and the customer in the creation of their corporate vision.
- Mission statement—This describes the purpose of the organization and outlines the types of activities to be performed for constituents and customers. It should also mention the values or services that are offered. First, a statement of overall purpose or mission of the company is declared. Secondly, a statement that indicates the values employees should maintain on a daily basis is provided. Third, management must articulate the overall goals that they think are essential to accomplishing the mission. These goals should be consistent with the philosophical values that employees are expected to maintain.
- Values—These are guiding principles that describe how employees, from management on down, intend to conduct their business and themselves. These values set the tone for the development of the organization as they are the foundation of the organizational culture.
- Commitment – This is the emotional investment made by the employees to reach the desired goal or outcome of their organization. Successful leaders should commit to setting a personal example to inspire and motivate those around them to reach the organization’s mission or goals.
- Motivation—This is the ability to compel others to take action or make a commitment through reasoning or incentives. Successful leaders understand that individuals are unique and motivated by different things, and that money is often not the most powerful long-term motivator. Consequently, a good leader recognizes that fear is the least effective method of long-term motivation for employees.
- Consensus Building—This is a leader’s ability to facilitate agreement between different individuals within a group. Usually a consensus is reached when a group’s various members agree to an acceptable alternative even though it’s probably not their first choice. Building a consensus can foster a greater degree of commitment among members than a decision made by majority. While ideal, consensus building often involves additional time and effort with no guarantee of an acceptable group decision. In that case, the leader may need to initiate the group decision in order to proceed with implementation.
The lack of any of these important traits or qualities can greatly reduce a leader’s effectiveness and create a leadership vacuum. By applying these principles, you can cultivate a positive, goal-oriented environment within your organization.
Do you want to become a more effective leader? Our leadership development training programs can help you get the results you are looking for. Contact us to find out more about our targeted management development programs or request a free quote.