Qualities of an Effective Leader

One of the top qualities of an effective leader is that they know that for people to perform well, they need to be motivated. People need to be trained and put on the right track so they understand what is expected of them, in order for them to reach their full potential. Yet the large companies in the corporate world spend very little time and money, on the one thing that is most important to them – the people. There are a few basic steps an effective leader needs to carry out in order for everyone to outperform their capabilities.

First Step – Goal Setting

Goals and Targets

One of the qualities of an effective leader, is that you first need to sit down with the people you work with, and develop plans and strategies for what needs to be done. You need to make it crystal clear what the goals and responsibilities for each person are and let them know that they will be accountable on a regular basis for what they are assigned to do. Have everyone write down their goals, each goal on a separate piece of paper, and then make a copy for yourself, so you can also periodically check the progress as well.

Since everyone now knows what to do and what is expected of them, they should take a minute each day, including yourself of course, and assess their performance. The trick here is to take a minute as a leader, and explain to each individual beforehand, that they need to take a minute themselves everyday to check their progress.

Second Step – Praise Good Work


This is something that managers tend to forget. In fact, instead of praising they wait until someone makes a mistake and then they pounce on them like there’s no tomorrow. A person who has qualities of an effective leader, should praise their people immediately once they “catch” them delivering some good work. The work does not have to be perfect since it still proves the effort has been made, and the person is heading in the right direction.

Be specific about what they did right in their work so they understand that you know what’s going on and that you really do care. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings about how pleased you are with their results and how their performance will help their colleagues and the organization in general. If you know the person long enough and you are sure that you will not be misunderstood, give them a pat on the back or a hand shake as physical contact is a very powerful communication media.

A person can actually “feel” the gratitude with the physical contact. People have very strong feelings about being touched. People know immediately when you touch them whether you care about them, or whether you are just trying to find a way to manipulate them. Therefore you need to follow the “rule of touching” which is simply “when you touch, don’t take”. Touch the people you manage only when you are giving them something in return such as reassurance, support or encouragement.

It will only take a minute to praise someone, but oh how effective it can be. What will happen after the praise is that more great work will continue to be delivered, most probably even outstanding work. The reason being is that “people who feel good about themselves produce good results”. This is a fact and I am sure you can relate. I am convinced at some time you have been praised for something you have done. Can you remember that special feeling?

Third Step – Reprimand Unsatisfactory Work

Red Card

This is something that managers do very often but most of the times do it in a wrong way, or even worse, for the wrong reasons. For a start, you need to let people know from the beginning that during the course of their work, you will be letting them know how they are doing, good or bad. If a person is not performing to their abilities, then reprimand them immediately and tell them specifically what they have done wrong, and how you feel about the whole situation. This action should not take more than a minute.

As a person with the essential qualities of an effective leader, you need to point out to the person that it is their behavior that you condemn, and not the actual person. If appropriate, use the physical contact approach which will reassure them that you are still on their side and you value them a great deal.

Let them know that you do not understand why their standard has dropped and that they are capable of a lot more, and that is the main reason why you are angry with them. At this point you put them back on track with a new set of goals, one of them being to identify and solve their own mistakes or underachieved performance in the future.

Have in mind that everyone is a potential winner, and that some people are just disguised as losers, so don’t let their appearance fool you. When you reprimand a persons behavior instead of themselves as human beings, then they will not put up their defensive shield and block out the advice you will give them.

The idea to reprimand someone is to put them on the right track, but at the same time, to “eliminate” their behavior, and “keep” the person. This also shows them that you care about them as a person.

Each of the three steps mentioned above should not take more than a minute each, if you know exactly what needs to be done and how. Yet just a short time with an individual can change dramatically their performance and behavior. It is very important to understand that when managing people, to always remember that behavior and worth are not the same things. What is really worthwhile is the person managing their own behavior; Knowing this, is one of the greatest qualities of an effective leader.

"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude. Be kind, but not weak. Be bold, but not a bully. Be thoughtful, but not lazy. Be humble, but not timid. Be proud, but not arrogant. Have humour, but without folly" - Jim Rohn

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