Being an effective leader is much more than being thrown into a position of leadership, whether its a manager position at work or an officer in an organization; it's about leading in a way that others WANT to follow you and are INSPIRED by your actions. Being an effective leader is leading with your head and your heart, with true passion and enthusiasm within your organization and for your followers. There is no "right way" of becoming an effective leader; you may be born into being a natural effective leader, may attend many conferences to teach yourself on how to be a leader, or even watch your mentors around you to mirror their qualities. The route you take to become the most effective leader is completely subjective to your current situation, and there is no perfect formula. However, I have witnessed very effective leaders over my experience within organizations and employment throughout many roles. The most interesting part? I keep seeing a common denominator between these effective leaders with five outstanding qualities all of the effective leaders I have met possess:
1. Lead By Actions, Not Words
This hits heavy in anything you may want to do in life. The old phrase to act like everyone is watching will stay true throughout your life. Leading by actions, not words is a powerful phrase that is a great way to live. Others will watch, hear, and talk about your leadership capabilities. The most effective leaders I have witnessed are ones that will do, before they tell. The leaders that are not afraid to put coworkers on their back, take up the extra slack, go above and beyond, and stay true to their values even when no one is watching.
2. Be Humble
As Kendrick Lamar says it best, Be Humble. This is a trait that has been portrayed strongly between the effective leaders I have come across. Being humble is to have a modest or low estimate of one's own importance, as explained by Merriam-Webster dictionary. It is to put yourself on the same level has those who follow you, not on a pedestal above those who follow you. It is the difference of saying "my assistant" to "my co-worker". It is the mindset of being able to perform the actions of any employee, or member in your organization even at the lowest level. It's being a leader that never promotes himself higher than others. Be Humble.
3. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Effective leaders understand the importance of communication. They understand that you can not communicate the same way with everyone you may come into contact with, and THAT IS OKAY. They understand how to adjust the way they communicate with other leaders, followers, or anyone in their network of influence. An effective leader will develop communication habits that can be adaptable to others, not the other way around. To be a leader is to be in a position of authority or have followers underneath you, to be an effective leader is to communicate passionately and honestly with your followers in the most effective way that they understand the message you are sending to them. Try out new ways to communicate with others today! Try non-verbal ques with always having a smile on your face, try to develop more small talk than business talk, try to be direct to the point and not beating around the bush, and try to communicate and adapt to how your followers communicate.
4. Being Supportive
Bring others onto the pedestal before you bring yourself. Great leaders are ones that understand the importance of the welfare and health with the people in their organization. They understand the daily struggles, family challenges, and can support their followers throughout it all. Never lose your personal touch with all of the people that make up your organization. Stay supportive and keep driving to make others better/empowered around you.
5. Organized & Planning Ahead
Effective leaders look forward, and create a vision for others to see and follow. To create the plan moving forward an effective leader must stay organized. Take the last thirty minutes of work, or a Sunday after Church to organize the week or day in front of you. Organize your time first, and the rest will follow. The effective leaders I have met are able to create a schedule for themselves for the upcoming week, and tentatively stay with it to control their time. Planning ahead is a trait with every effective leader. To create a vision that others can follow, goals to meet the vision, and executing the plan. As an effective leader you are the quarterback for a football team. You have a vision, the tools to make the pass, and your job is develop a plan to reach the goals and execute the plan.