What are the crucial characteristics of effective leadership? Your competitors and predecessors provide excellent examples to study and learn from, but just because you are in business does NOT mean you automatically have an answer to this question. What you will soon see, if you haven’t already, is that you have to answer this question for yourself. There isn’t a “best way” to lead, and contrary to the many books written on the topic…no one can tell you how you should lead.
So then what should you do? First understand that leadership is much more of an art than it is a science. It isn’t so much about what you do, but instead how you do it. The good news about this is you can use your own characteristics of effective leadership in almost any way you like. The bad news is this still leaves the question open to lots of interpretation. Here is some help to be sure you are most effective in your leadership role.
One of the main characteristics of effective leadership is clarity around the impact you want to make. If you are going to lead any group in any direction you must have your own picture of where you are going. Take the time to understand how your strengths will positively impact the situation you are in. Below are 6 simple questions to help you think through your leadership thoughts.
Who will benefit from your impact? Who are your major stakeholders? Are they defined by race, gender, or social status? Your impact has a target audience and you must know who they are.
What is your impact? What positive change is going to take place? Be specific on the difference you will make in the world of business.
When will your impact happen? How will you make the world a better place today? Don’t “wait for the right opportunity”. Instead, use your business savvy to affect positive change as quickly as possible.
Where will your impact occur? Is your focus local, regional, national, or global? Be clear about where your impact will occur and seek out the resources you need to enable it.
Why does this impact matter? Why should people prioritize your cause? How will you positively affect them? Make sure you can show people why they should be interested in the impact you are trying to make.
How are you going to deliver? What special skills do you bring to the table? Why should you be the one to lead the charge? Have confidence in your skills and show your competence daily.
Once you have clarity around the who, what, when, where, why, and how…execution is much easier. Now you can quickly explain to your team the direction you are taking them in. Your team will see the value of their efforts and this builds trust in the event challenges occur. This may seem simple, but give this a try and you will soon see why clarity is one of the most crucial and difficult characteristics of effective leadership.