There is no organization that is successful today that has been short of effective leaders; kindly note that, in this particular case for these leaders it’s not about the titles, but a more of the meaning and impact of the individuals. Effective leadership is one of the critical drivers for growth, development and innovation. Leadership in general aims at providing direction, guidance and inspiration; effective leadership is more, effective are passionate, and confident; they have unwavering commitment, courage but, also make room for courageous followers; they nurture their strengths and potential. So what makes an effective leader? Here are some of the key mindsets of effective leaders:
Many people have been brought up with a myth that was based on a traditional adage that said, “Curiosity killed the cat”, no wonder many people today and it’s also sad to see many leaders today are not curious. This has resulted in leaders with no clue on how the future will be, how their past is affecting their present and are just running the business for the moment; and yes they might be getting results for the moment especially when the environment is favorable but, they stumble when the environment changes just like we have seen in this period of covid-19 where many have stumbled and their organizations too have stumbled.
Why? Because many of their leaders were/are not curious.
Effective leaders use thoughtful and targeted questions to get information; they ask, powerful questions to raise their level of expectations for them and for the team. They ask questions to uncover the barriers and provide holistic solutions and way forward collectively with their teams and creates aspects of accountability of actions.
Curiosity is a critical skill for transformative growth and change that effective leaders must CULTIVATE since it brings about the creativity that fosters innovations.
Many leaders today especially from an African setting view vulnerability as a weakness; we have been brought up to a myth that leaders are supposed to handle any situation without showing weakness – militaristic way. This is actually the source of many poor relationships in organizations; many leaders today are being managed by their teams and information flow is limited to what they want to hear due to this aspect of lack of leadership vulnerability. Looking at the current period, many leaders and organizations would possibly have devised better ways of handling this period and still maintain better performance if they would have evoked vulnerable leadership style in their engagement with their teams.
Effective leaders today are vulnerable with the team but accountable in every action. They allow creativity which means, giving room for failure but, emphasizing on aspects of learning from the failures is key. They are focused on the learnings attained rather that the failure itself and this promote vulnerability trust; they ask for help where required; they are open and this creates a vulnerable trust space within the team.
Vulnerability is a great way to build trust with each individual within the team and organization whose end result is building a vulnerability culture, which involves team synergy, supportive and helps propel the organization to greater heights.
These are things that leader’s do that make them successful and is very different from leadership behaviors or styles. Leader’s actions are founded from leader’s beliefs, values but also affected by organization’s culture and values. Traditional myth of leadership is that it gives direction and makes people follow their direction; however, contemporary leadership will be a flop if such mentality is brought to the table. Effective leaders know the way, show the way by leading the way as shared by Dr. John C. Maxwell. You cannot be an effective leader is you cannot navigate the way and lead your teams in the direction you wish to go as a team or as an organization.
This doesn’t mean being operational as the CEO for example, but by being keen to follow through on the actions and one in a while navigating through your team’s experience to understand some of the challenges they are facing and possible solutions they have in mind.
Effective leadership knows the way, shows the way and leads the way!
Many leaders today undertake their responsibility perfectly but, only as guided within the confines of their job descriptions. In instances we ay not blame such leaders because, they are boxed in this manner as a result of some of the organizational restrictions and cultures that force their leaders to operate within their JDs and policies even if they are outdated.
Effective leaders go above and beyond and through creativity and innovation brings change in their organizations beyond the status quo are able to stand by their decisions and actions. They take responsibility for their decisions even if it contradicts with the existing status quo and culture that possibly could be outdated and needs change; they also hold others responsible as well on operating above their status quo to find create solutions for the organization.
Effective leaders apply communication shift in their engagement with team. They do not correct and direct but, connect. They are focused on connecting for equipping and influence rather that correcting and directing for positional influence. The end result of connecting with the team is a more invested, & satisfied team in their tasks and assignments.
Connecting with team, ensures the leader understand team members’ abilities and values, as well as relevant facts about their personalities, that then fosters sound interactions and work assignments based on strengths, but also supports the leader understand areas of coaching and mentorship they need to apply to enable their teams improve on their capabilities. John C. Maxwell shares that connecting is not our natural strength, we have to be intentional about it; it’s all about others and its not just about words but more that that and finally if we do this well, connecting is the engine that increases our influence as leaders.