Effective Leadership

The People I Have Known

After working over 30 years in corporate settings, I had the opportunity to meet all kinds of people. I’ve dealt with superiors, peers and subordinates and have seen a lot of diversity at each level.

Do you recognize any of the following?

  • Managers who need to choreograph everything that is going. Can you say Micro-Manager?
  • Managers who give a general guideline of what needs to happen and let you run with it
  • Leaders who have to do it all
  • Leaders who are really good at delegating responsibilities to others
  • Peers who keep information to themselves so no one else can do what they do. I suspect they are simply afraid of losing their job or becoming “less important” in others’ eyes.
  • Peers who are eager to show you what you need to know to be successful in whatever it is you are responsible for
  • Subordinates who fight every decision you make
  • Subordinates who are grateful that you at least made a decision, even if it didn’t work out. After all, you can always make another decision to do something else.

Being Effective As A Leader

I cannot say that I have all the answers when it comes to leadership. I would always like to know more and fully believe that learning is a life-long activity.

In my mind, several things make a good leader. Whether you are a leader of self, or a leader of others.

  1. Don’t ever be afraid of showing others what you know. Not only does it feel good to see someone get that “ah ha” moment, you are building new leaders in this way.
  2. It’s ok to let others do some of the work that needs to be done. The least effective leaders, peers and subordinates that I have run into are those that keep everything close to the vest. These are the one’s that don’t let anyone else know what is going on until after the fact. It’s a very top-down management style.
  3. Encourage others. Reward freely. When someone working under your supervision does something good, tell them. Tell them often and mean it. It doesn’t mean handing out raises all the time. Acknowledging good has its own rewards.
  4. Delegate to others. Don’t micro-manage. Giving others an opportunity to “show their stuff” builds their confidence, encourages their own leadership skills and allows them to take risks.

What Else

Well, as I said, I do not have all the answers. Having been in all positions, supervisor, peer and subordinate, I can tell you how I have felt in each role.

For a while, I taught in a corporate setting. Some of my peers would chide me for “trying to make them look bad” by showing others how to work on certain things. I have also taught in a college atmosphere. Seeing others connect the dots with technology was rewarding. Trust me – that was a job that was not done for the money.

I know there are a ton of other things that people can do to be an effective leader. What have you seen?