4 rules of effective leadership
What makes a great leader is a question that has been asked many times down the years. Indeed a quick search for positive leadership traits brings up a whole host of lists, mentioning things such as honesty, integrity, charisma and so on. Whilst most of these traits are indeed noble qualities, do they really define a good leader?
In my opinion they don't. The reason they fail is that they create the impression that leadership is an absolute endeavour. They would have us believe that leaders with certain characteristics will succeed whatever their environment. All of which is, well, codswallop. For you see leadership is a very circumstantial thing. Our success as leaders depends very much on the circumstances we find ourselves in, and indeed the followers that we hope to lead. It explains how Winston Churchill can be regarded as one of the finest leaders ever during war time, yet voted out of office the minute war ended.
So if the traits outlined in these articles don't define a great leader, what does? The following four rules go a long way to defining whether you'll be successful as a leader.
Rule 1 - Do you reflect your team? Psychological research has shown that leaders succeed when they reflect the characteristics of their team. The more you are seen as 'one of us' by your team, the more likely you are to be able to lead them successfully.
Rule 2 - Do you champion your team? As well as being seen to reflect your followers, you also need to be championing them. Too often leaders are seen to be in it just for themselves, and it's therefore not surprising that their leadership capabilities are weak. Leaders need to advance the collective interests of their followers in order to lead them well.
Rule 3 - Do you create this identity? Leaders don't tend to wait for leadership to be bestowed upon them. Instead they create the opportunity by forging the shared identities and policies of their group.
Rule 4 - Do you turn vision into reality? Leaders should be able to show results in order to achieve a devoted following. Shallow rhetoric might work for a short while, but followers want to see you can translate your words into reality.
If you can master all of those 4 rules, there's a good chance that you'll be a successful leader.
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