March 6, 2012

How To Become An Effective Leader

No one individual is ever born a leader. He or she develops this technique from within the most uncomfortable place you will ever encounter --- your own mind.

How does one become an effective leader who inspires others toward excellence, yet holds individuals accountable while instilling a sense of trust? Learning what makes an excellent leader is your first essential step.

Here are some things you can do to become the leader you have always wanted to be:

1. First, you must learn to manage yourself. Every great leader throughout history has had to become a master of self-discipline and willpower. They had to in order to remain focused on the big picture. If you do not have a goal, or the drive to achieve it, you cannot successfully lead others to realize theirs.

• Follow through in everything you do. As challenging as it may be, this very important step must become habit. Discipline yourself to be where you want to be. By being strong in your resolve and resisting temptation to give up, you are setting an example for others to follow.

• Choose your emotional response to a situation carefully. There will be times when you will need to practice the art of silencing your inner thoughts when they are not appropriate in order to set a positive example.

2. Project your goals for the group. If the individuals you are leading do not fully understand the significance of these goals and their work, they will not share your vision or work ethic. Every step of the way, communicate with your team to create a positive wavelength to help them understand what you expect of all team members.

• Get your team involved in the planning a process for the implementation of your ideas. This gives everyone a greater sense of ownership toward the result.

3. Praise highly and criticize constructively. The manner in which you praise or criticize others can make the key difference in having the ability to lead effectively.

• Make sure that you publicly praise those who are doing excellent work for you. This will give that person(s) a sense of accomplishment, which will motivate others toward improvement.

• When someone does something thing wrong, offer constructive criticism but, do it privately. Suggest solutions on how they can improve and take time to answer any questions they have. Presented in this manner, your input will be accepted once they understand you are trying to help them succeed.

4. Get to know your people. You cannot successfully lead a group of individuals unless you actually understand their hopes, dreams, struggles, pains, and goals. All the good intentions in the world mean nothing unless you have a real sense of the individuals you are working with.

Visit with your team and get to know them. Getting to know each other on a personal level can strengthen the bond between you. They will want to do better for you because you are more than just their "boss."

• Be their leader, first, and their friend second. You are their leader and that, means you have to make difficult decisions from time to time. These decisions cannot be ruled on by personal relationships.

5. How to make tough decisions when they occur, and there will be times, when you have to face a situation and render unpleasant choices. Firing, demoting, and holding people accountable for their actions can be exhausting. Occasionally, as a leader, it becomes your responsibility to handle these matters.

Regardless of where your leadership role takes you, believe that you can be a strong leader. Keep in mind that in order to lead others, you must be disciplined yourself. After all, your actions will speak louder than any words you speak.

In order to gain the respect of others, strive to lead by example in every area of your life. When you follow these simple guidelines, you will be well on your way to becoming a true leader! One who encourages others in your team to give their ethical best in every task or job they accept.

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