Who is an Effective Leader?

Who is an Effective Leader?
By: Khadar Da’ud Abdirahman
The true task of leadership involves the ability to make change happen. Although multitudes of research have been done on what makes an effective leader, there appears to be no guaranteed consensus. Essentially outstanding leaders become a fine balance between traits, abilities, behaviors, sources of power, and aspects of the situation. These become the determining factors of the ability to influence followers and accomplish group objectives. Therefore, any member of any group, at any one time, may assume a leadership role, given any degree of innate traits and the circumstances surrounding the event. Different people who can effectively influence what the group do how it is done and the method by which the group relates to one another could carry out various leadership functions.

The most effective measure of a leader and his/her competency is the extent to which the group attains its goals. It is easy to see why Stephan Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said “Begin with the end in mind.” Formulate an idea and then work through the details so as to commit every thought, feeling, and emotion knowing that you can portray it with confidence and honesty. It incorporates attitudes, values and a mindset that can facilitate commitment and transformation. Leadership begins by developing a vision, a desire or picture of how an organization will look in the future. Often it represents an idea or dream of what might be or could be. In reality, a vision denotes the “what” and the leader represents the “how” or the elements of what needs to be done to achieve the vision.

Effective leadership begins with the fundamental ability to believe in your-self. It incorporates a maturity, conviction, and expertise that translate into a purpose and direction. It is this clarity of vision that gives great leaders the confidence to adopt the role of instilling motivation, self-esteem, and teamwork. As visionaries, they are disciplined thinkers and confidently trust their intuition. Leaders understand fully their environment and can transform situations to attain an established vision. Leaders can combine change with growth, take practical risks, and demonstrate considerable problem solving abilities. They believe in people, are sensitive to other’s needs and appreciate a person’s core values. They will actively remake a challenge to yield productive outcomes by creating an organization that develops and fosters success. Although often debated, leadership traits can be learned skills that with encouragement and reinforcement can produce outstanding individuals.

To understand the behavior and traits of a leader, one needs to look at their innate characteristics.
Most significant are energy level, physical stamina and stress tolerance. High energy and stress tolerance help to deal with the fast pace and often chaotic events of today’s business.

Leadership brings unrelenting demands that require physical vitality and a high degree of emotional resilience. Second, it requires the ability to problem solve and draw out those to creatively resolve issues along the way. One needs to be flexible with ideas and open to a variety of solutions and viewpoints. The key is to “see the forest through the trees” and have the ability to effectively meander through a variety of circumstances and obstacles, but to keep focused on the vision. As Warren Benis has stated “lack of a clear vision is a major reason for the declining effectiveness of a leader.” No matter what the situation, leaders need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly and commit themselves to the outcome. A leader must be able to transform his vision to a more inclusive position by gaining the trust and commitment of those needed to fulfill his objective. Once formulated, the vision represents a direction and must be reinforced by consistent and reliable actions of the leader. Gaining commitment of those individuals, who will participate in the process of changing and growing an organization, requires that they must be encouraged by the task. If the leader is unable to get the commitment of others and can only achieve compliance, the ability to achieve success greatly diminishes.

Leaders also need the confidence to build self-esteem in others and still maintain a strong degree of integrity in themselves. With this comes the ability to influence an organization up, laterally and below as well as internally and externally. One must be able to gain the approval of everyone involved to make an idea reality. The ability to develop cooperative relations, to be a team player and to create an atmosphere that supports a high degree of collegiality, marks the true leader. This topic is too long to say something but let’s come to the conclusion in order to save time.
Although leadership has many definitions and varied criteria for success, it is defined by the assumption that it is an influence process that in many cases is situational. The success of a leader depends on his/her ability to achieve a goal through the actions of those involved. It takes the commitment of others in the organization to implement a leader’s vision and goals.

By: khadar Da’ud Abdirahman (MSc.)
Tel: 063-4060400
E-mail: khadar.daud@gmail.com


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