Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thought: Effective Leadership

In today’s world of competition, effective leadership is playing a major role. It not only enables each individual to prove his leadership skills, but also shows the individual ability in effectively dealing other team members. The present short article discusses about how effectively one can lead the teams in an efficient manner.

"Being the leader doesn't make you one, because leaders don't automatically get the respect and acceptance of their group members; so in order to earn the leadership of their group and have a positive influence on the group members, leaders learn some specific skills and methods." -- Thomas Gordon

Effective leadership does not mean that how effectively the leader is leading the team. But it does mean that how effectively the leader is working with the team and how effectively the leader is managing the team. In order to be an effective leader, one should be able to motivate the team in an efficient manner. As all of you are already aware, success of any project depends on effective leadership, effective leader does mean that, in the absence of leader, team should be able to work. Leader should not become critical to the team, but he should become critical in making the team to achieve team goals or meeting the deadlines. Team should not get prejudiced with the assignments that the leader does. Leader should assign the work to each and every individual by keeping the following things in mind.

  1. Strengths of each team member
  2. Weaknesses of each team member

Leader should provide a facility in such a way that juniors will learn from seniors within the team. He needs to motivate the team in all the aspects even during crisis period of a project. He should be able to effectively delegate the work to his members and at the same time he should make sure to meet the deadlines. Leader should be able to communicate to his team members in a language that is understandable to both of them.
Effective leader should be able to identify the strengths of each and every individual effectively within the team and should assist the concerned individual to grow. The feedback that the leader is going to give to a team member should help him work in a better way than earlier. During feedback, leader should not compare the team member with any other member in the team. He should mention clearly to the team member stating what was expected out of him and what was not met by him and what were the reasons resulting in those unmet expectations. Leader should also make sure that he has set all the objectives for each and every individual team member well in advance at the beginning of the project. This enables the team member to work in a better and a much more challenging environment. Leader should also need to take care of knowledge sharing among the team members/across the teams. This not only enables each and every individual to expose their skills and also puts the overall talent and maturity of the organization in a commendable manner. Effective leader does not need to necessarily have soaring technical capabilities. But having the technical skills not only enables the fast career growth for him and his team but also helps him resolve any technical issues with-in and across the account in an effective and efficient manner, there by making his presence known and well-acknowledged with in the organization and among the clients that he is working with. Effective leader should be able to forecast any problems that may likely to come in near future and should be ready with action plans to resolve them. Leader should be efficiently able to track any issues in the team and also should make sure to close those issues by prioritizing them. And finally he should try to establish himself as one of the family member within the team. This helps all his members to exchange their ideas/problems without any hesitation with him.

All these qualities specified above exclusively leverages the capabilities of a Leader and also allows him to quantify the “measure of success criteria” in his projects and amidst his team members.

To sum it up, wise men define the following as the most renowned and much sought-after characteristics of a winning leader who’s more effective and very efficient by all means: (Source: Agdex 1912-1. Revised August 1998.)

Effective Leaders will always be honest with their team members. This gives them credibility, resulting in the trust and confidence of their people. Credible leaders foster greater pride in the organization, a stronger spirit of cooperation and teamwork, and more feelings of ownership and personal responsibility.
  • They do what they say they will do. They keep their promises and follow through on their commitments.
  • They make sure their actions are consistent with the wishes of the people they lead. They have a clear idea of what others value and what they can do.
  • They believe in the inherent self worth of others.
  • They admit to their mistakes. They realize that attempting to hide a mistake is damaging and erodes credibility.
  • They create a trusting and open climate.
  • They help others to be successful and to feel empowered.
  • They don't push too much. They encourage members to do more, but know when it's too much.
  • They roll up their sleeves. They show the members they aren't just the figurehead or decision maker. Members respect leaders more when they show the willingness to work alongside them.
  • They avoid phrases that cause resentment, reluctance and resistance. For instance, instead of saying you have to do something, effective leaders request or recommend that members do something.

All though all the above might not be feasible to put in action due to organizational, regional, cultural and environmental constraints that are generally overlooked at a global level, we all can at least give it a try, A genuine attempt should never really hurt!

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