Here are 12 characteristics of an effective leader to consider.
1. An Effective Leader is a Risk-Taker
An effective leader attempts to bring about great changes. These changes are not without risks. Facing changes and challenges, as we get older is a part of life. How we deal with changes and challenges reflects on who we are and how we will grow as a leader.
A strong leader is very creative. They will try new approaches even if it presents possible failure. Effective leaders recognize that failure is only a temporary setback that gives a clear understanding of what not to do in the future. The overall attitude of a risk-taking leader is that, “You ultimately fail when you don’t give it a try!”
Helen Keller was born in 1882. She become ill as a young child and was struck blind, deaf and mute. In 1887, Keller had a teacher named Anne Sullivan who helped her make tremendous progress in her ability to communicate. As she grew up under Sullivan’s coaching she went on to college, graduating in 1904. One of Keller’s famous quotes showed her as a risk-taker. She said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
2. An Effective Leader has Self-control
Strong leaders know that their ability to stay calm, even in the worst of conflicts, is a character trait that must be nurtured and grown. The effective leader’s mantra is, “When you lose your temper, you lose.”
Stephen Covey pointed out that there is a well-defined character of those who express self-control. He said, “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good.”
Self-control will determine what is most important.
3. An Effective Leader is a Caring Individual
Strong leadership can never take place if those we lead think we do not care. Leaders should show a caring attitude about the mission of their organization. However, their concern for each individual team member must take priority over everything else.
When a leader cares about those they lead they show behavior that is consistently acknowledging others. A effective leader who cares, is one who maintains eye contact during a conversation. This type of leader asks many questions and listens more than they talk. A caring leader desires the feedback and opinions of those they lead.
Due to the caring nature of this type of leader they regularly compliment people in public and private settings. This type of leader also expresses genuine interest in the lives of those they lead.
4. An Effective Leader is Modest
Self-evaluation is a strong characteristic of an effective leader. A good leader does not have a problem in being evaluated or receiving criticism. No one enjoys being corrected but an effective leader sees it for what it is: an opportunity for personal growth.
5. An Effective Leader is Balanced
A good leader does not ignore any area of their personal life. They understand that to do well they must keep up good health, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
An effective leader understands that to be a balanced leader it is necessary to:
- Rest, and get enough sleep
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Work hard on developing healthy social skills and interaction
- Grow personal skills and talents
The overriding goal of a strong leader is to go at all areas of life in a balanced fashion.
6. An Effective Leader is Resolute
A strong leader must make wise decisions. They must also be willing to listen to wise counsel. A strong leader is determined and admirably purposeful. There is a strong character of unwavering determination.
The word resolute describes a characteristic of firmness and determination. This type of person is clear especially in purpose and belief. A resolute leader can also be characterized by quickness.
7. An Effective Leader is Motivational
A motivational leader enjoys their task. They are optimistic about their purpose. Change requires taking risks, personal growth and challenges. A motivational leader does not back down from a challenge but is willing to lead the way as an inspirational leader.
8. An Effective Leader is a Clear Communicator
It is important to understand that communication is not solely conversation. A good communicator aims to make sure that their message is understood. The skill of communication is grown upon the skill of listening. Listening is as important as talking. An effective leader listens more than they talk.
9. An Effective Leader is a Visionary
A leader must be a dreamer. A productive leader is someone who can see into the future. The challenge for every visionary leader is not to get so far ahead of the team in what they see that they leave them behind. This behavior causes a team to feel lost and wondering about the future direction. A visionary is a dreamer but they are also a strong communicator of their dream.
Effective leadership has certain, basic, visionary, characteristics. The aim of a strong leader is to translate their “vision” into reality.
10. An Effective Leader has a Sense of Humor
Good leaders take their work seriously. However, they do not mind laughing at themselves. A healthy leader does not have a problem in finding humor in their mistakes or blunders. A productive leader knows that laughter is good for the soul. A humorous person can lead a team even through the most challenging times.
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” William Arthur Ward put it this way, “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”
11. An Effective Leader is Ethical
A strong leader has a strong moral base. There is no question about their character. What you see is what you get. There is nothing more defeatist than a dishonest or lying leader. A strong leader has strong convictions.
Ethical living and leadership will take courage and conviction. It means doing the right thing, even when the right thing isn’t popular or easy to accomplish. When a leader makes decisions based on core values, then it makes a clear statement that they cannot be bought. The effective ethical leader leads by example.
12. An Effective Leader is Dedicated to the “Cause”
Being an effective leader is not easy. However, it is necessary for the success of any organization or team. Dedication is key. Being able to convey commitment to a clear purpose and cause is essential. The strong leader will communicate the “cause” as often as possible.
Real dedication is fueled by the passion of the cause. If there is no passion then there is no motivation for the cause.
Every successful team needs an EFFECTIVE LEADER! All leaders should ask a simple question of themselves, “Am I being an effective leader?” This question can be answered by considering these 12 characteristics of an effective leader.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” ~ Philippians 2:3-4