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What Makes You an Effective Leader?

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July 6, 2022
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5 minutes
Gizela has almost two decades of experience within the Digital sphere and eagerly awaits the day she can be cloned so she can finally get everything on her daily to-do list done

A leader can make or break an organization. Also, there’s a big difference between being a leader and being an effective leader. So how does one cultivate good leadership? And how does one develop leadership skills in the first place? Read on to find all these questions and more.

Why Should a Business Have an Effective Leader?

Where would Apple be today if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs? Or the Huffington Post if it wasn’t for Ariana Huffington? There’s a long list of companies that are almost synonymous with their leaders. There are plenty of benefits of having an effective leader at the helm of a business:

  • A good leader can implement visions and values.
  • They can boost morale within the organization.
  • They ensure effective communication takes place.
  • An effective leader can motivate team members.
  • A good leader can equip their team with the proper tools and resources to get the job done.
“In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” ~Harry Truman, former U.S. President

Is Your Business Lacking in Effective Leadership?

There are a few sure-fire signs that your organization is lacking some leadership. These include the following:

  • Poor performance from your team.
  • There is an inability to make decisions and take the appropriate actions.
  • There seems to be a lot of conflict within the company.
  • Change takes a long time within the organization.
  • Blame shifting seems to be the name of the game whenever any accountability is required.

What the Studies Say

In a recent study to discover what lies behind effective leadership, the focus was placed on 195 leaders of more than 30 international brands in 15 countries. They were all given a list of 74 characteristics and asked to pick the 15 they believe were most important for good leadership. From the answers received, it was clear that 5 themes emerged. 5 characteristics that make someone an effective leader. These are:

Strong Ethics & Safety

These leadership skills definitely came out on top, with 67% answering “high ethical and moral standards” and 56% “communicating clear expectations”. If you really dive into these, it’s obvious that a high value is placed on a leader that manages to create a safe and trusting work environment.

This is a mutually beneficial situation as neuroscience studies have proven that a safe and relaxed work environment increases creativity, ambition, and innovation. So how does one practice this skill? Well, there is an exercise called Deep Fast Forwarding that leaders can use when it comes to decision-making.

If you ever find yourself having to make some tough choices, fast-forward to your funeral and imagine what it is that people would say about you and the call you made. This will assist in making the right one. Also, regularly clear the air if the rumor mill has been hard at work and team members are sitting with some concerns, unanswered questions or fears.


This latches on to a sense of independence. Do not micromanage or try to do everything yourself. Team members need to feel like a valued part of the team and like you trust them enough to take care of things. You can still give instructions and guidance, but empower your team to ultimately get things done.

Not only does this kind of empowerment result in job satisfaction, but it also makes your team more proactive and productive. Relinquishing some control and allowing team members to self-organize can be one of the biggest challenges a leader faces. One way of mitigating this is to actually voice some of your own fears and concerns about outcomes if you give up certain control.

Efficient Learning

To move forward, you need to be innovative. Innovation doesn’t happen by clinging to the old. Whether being able to admit that our way of thinking or doing something might be wrong or simply being open to trying new things – these all encourage a work environment of learning. Did you know that high levels of stress literally cause tunnel vision? And that might’ve been very helpful while making a bee-line to the cave with a dinosaur yapping at your heels.

But in today’s high-paced and stressful business world, tunnel vision can be detrimental to an organization. That makes learning absolutely crucial to any institution, and good leadership is displayed by a leader leading by example. A leader that’s open to new ideas, opinions and learning new things will encourage their team to do the same.

Nurtures Growth

Team members that start to feel like they're stagnating in their position become demotivated. A company that’s willing to invest in its team’s growth will reap the rewards of a team willing to invest in the company. Ways you can aid and nurture the growth of team members are by giving training, creating bursaries for further studies, promoting from within etc.

Connection & Belonging

Humans have a strong tribal sense and want to connect with others. That’s why it’s no surprise to find leadership skills such as “create a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a pack” or “communicate often and openly” during the studies' feedback sessions. This can also impact productivity and well-being greatly.

This aspect is also very important in terms of safety. In fact, studies have shown that once a work environment is perceived as safe, team members also need to feel cared for in order to unleash their full potential from a neuroscience standpoint. A few basic practices to create this feeling of connection within an organization include:

  • Calling each other by name.
  • Smiling at each other.
  • Paying attention when others are speaking to you.


Effective leadership doesn’t just consist of being born with good leadership skills (even though it’s a pretty good start). It is an entire culture that needs to be cultivated and maintained to enable others to also develop their own leadership skills in their various departments. Empowerment and accountability is the name of the game when it comes to an organization and its team.

For more helpful tips and advice, as well as free resources, check out the Consultport home page.