Many books, articles and podcasts have been produced on how to become an effective leader. What tactics and strategies you use will vary from situation to situation. But across all genres of work and life, there are a few common themes. Or, as I like to say, universal truths. No leader is perfect, but we must consistently invest in our self-improvement so when situations arise we are ready.
Influential leaders should always take swift and decisive action.
The most challenging thing in leadership is simply making a decision. Leaders must be able to quickly analyze and decide on the best course of action at the moment. It’s about minimizing or eliminating the potential damage, while still pushing the project forward. You must be confident in your choices as your teams rely on you to guide them.
Seek respect over being liked.
It would be fantastic if all our team members loved us all the time. Unfortunately, the truth is that’s often not the case. If you are too friendly to people, they can take advantage even unintentionally. If you are an absolute tyrant, they will hate you and not perform, which is counterproductive to the behavior needed in the workplace.
The goal, as I like to call it, is firm but fair. Firm is holding team members accountable to the rules and guidelines we must abide by no matter what. Fair is being open to communication and knowing when to have empathy. The goal should be to strive to be firm but fair knowing you will get it right more often than not.
With great power comes great responsibility.
Great leaders have the power to build teams and create company cultures that allow everyone to thrive. Poor leadership can single-handedly topple an empire. To all the leaders and aspiring ones, invest in your self-improvement. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Lastly, be the leader you wish you had.