Born or Made: What makes an Effective Leader
Leadership. It's a quality that we look for and one we wish to embody. But most are usually left with the same burning question: How?
What is an Effective Leader?
Any endeavor, business or otherwise, needs a good leader. And this is usually the step where most people get stuck. In order to understand how to lead, first one must ask what is an effective leader. The Harvard Business Review argues that when we look for leadership, or the qualities of a good leader, we often look for power, showmanship, long-range wisdom, and popularity to name a few. And although these qualities can be found in many great leaders they do not encompass the essence of one.
At the end of the day an effective leader is not the most colorful, outspoken, imposing, or threatening person. As a matter of fact it’s quite simply someone who successfully marshals their human collaborators in achieving a common purpose or goal. Those who watched HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones may be familiar with the following line by Conelith Hill’s character Lord Varys, “Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on the wall… and a small man can cast a very large shadow.” Though not many of us may be willing to take the iron throne, it is true that anyone can become a leader.
Effective business leaders should motivate employees to use their best qualities in order to work together not out of fear but of respect. And this is no truer now as companies looking to evolve and grow in a post pandemic world desperately require dynamic and effective leadership to thrive as the way companies interact with customers in an increasingly global and digital world constantly changes.
Qualities of an Effective Leader
Much of being an effective business leader has to do with psychology. Harvard Business School outlines six important qualities that anyone can improve upon in order to be an effective leader.
- Influencing Others: More so than authoritatively demanding results, an effective leader knows how to influence others by actively listening to opinions and appropriately using this knowledge in order to share their ideas on how the company should head, ensuring everyone feels heard and has contributed.
- Respect: We all know someone who talks the talk but can’t walk the walk. It's practically impossible to follow someone who does not practice what they preach. Effective leaders should set an example and meet that standard.
- Trust: Effective leaders build trust through transparency. Honesty can help employees understand how they fit into the company and its goals.
- Encourage Risk Taking and Innovation: Effective leaders create an environment where employees are not afraid to fail. They encourage new ideas and creative solutions. This is imperative if a company is meant to survive in this fast and dynamic digital world.
- Ethics: Employees look to follow a leader that instills the confidence that they will be treated fairly and equally in the workplace and will advocate for them in the case of an injustice.
- Resiliency and Decisive Action: Employees need a leader who in a moment's notice can make decisive decisions about the future of the company. Effective leaders maintain a bigger picture of the company’s long term goals and have a better idea on which actions need to be taken. The same way that in case of a crisis, effective leaders balance hard truths with perseverance and optimism in order to drive employees forward.
MiAddvantage knows what it takes to be an effective leader in cross-cultural markets. With a deep understanding and extensive knowledge of Latin American and Hispanic markets, MiAddvantage strives to help leaders effectively manage their business ventures in both markets to diligently communicate messages and help managers expand and grow their business.