10 Things Highly Effective Leaders Do

Through working with many clients and client organisations, I have learnt a great deal as an executive coach and leadership development facilitator.  I thought it fitting to share what I’ve learned about the 10 most important behaviours of highly effective leaders.

1. Effective leaders set meaningful goals for themselves and their teams just do it!

The most important aspect of goal setting is to do it. I never ceased to be amazed by the action and results that follow after a person has the courage to set, and commit to, a real and meaningful goal.  Do you have examples of amazing results generated by clear goals?

2. By mindfully managing their own energy, effective leaders manage the energy of their teams and organisations

Ultimately our energy levels determine our performance as leaders.  Highly effective leaders systematically renew their energy across the realms of physical, mental, emotional and human spirit. What do you do to renew your energy levels?

3. Effective leaders proactively and collaboratively address conflict

When leaders take a situational approach to conflict, they evaluate the importance of both the outcome and relationship.  If the importance of both is high, it is likely that the most appropriate approach is collaboration.   Further, effective leaders don’t rush in constructively dealing with conflict requires preparation.  The 24 hour rule can work well for everyone if you can be a bit of a hot head (like me), then make sure you sleep on it before you act; and if you prefer to avoid dealing with conflict, giving yourself a time limit of 24 hours to act can be valuable.

4. Effective leaders build trusting relationships, one brick at a time

No matter how much they might wish it to be the case, effective leaders know that there is no quick fix on this one!  Building an empathetic and emotional connection, consistently demonstrating a low self-orientation (which can simply be about getting your ego out of the way), and focusing on the other persons success rather than just your own can all be powerful mechanisms to build trust, brick by brick.

5. Effective leaders deal with stress by balancing acceptance and change

Reinhold Niebuhrs Serenity Prayer sums up this concept beautifully: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  While in my experience people tend to have a preference to either accept things or change things, rather than take the middle way, effective leaders are able to make conscious choices to balance the two approaches.

6. Effective leaders develop their own unique presence

This is not about being charismatic instead, leadership presence is a very personal attribute requiring a strong sense of self.  For some this includes characteristics such as accountability, collaboration and a genuine interest in developing others.  Effective leaders are intentional about how they carry themselves and how they want to be perceived, and do so in a way that is true to their character and style.

7. Effective leaders have more than one Leadership Style

The most effective Leaders have a variety of styles in their repertoire to fit the given circumstance or situation.  According to Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee in The New Leaders, the Visionary, Democratic, Coaching and Affiliative styles are the most effective.

8. Effective Leaders regularly achieve a state of flow

Have you seen people who become so immersed in their work that things seem almost effortless?  Essentially, really effective leaders get out of bed in the morning to be leaders. What does your state of flow look like and feel like?

9. Effective Leaders adopt the Corporate Athlete mindset

Such leaders seek feedback so that they can improve their game.  As well, they manage their physical and emotional balance and build regular recovery into their season.  They train for performance which means that they balance phases of learning and development with phases of performance.

10. And, effective leaders are not restricted by the fact that they don’t know the answer

Effective leaders recognise that being intelligent having the smarts, or having knowledge is not enough. True cognitive capability also includes having the emotional capacity to sit with the ambiguity, without stressing out. This requires a strong sense of self, and the ability to sit on the balcony so they can look at the situation from afar. 


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