Are You An Effective Leader?
“Leadership is not about titles. It is not about seniority. It is not about status, and it is not about management. Leadership is about power and the ability to know when and how to use it to influence the people around you to do and become more! Transformational leadership is about using your actions to elevate others and put them on their path to greatness.”
– Terina Allen, ARVis Institute
If you are deemed an effective leader, it will be because those you lead believe it so.
The needs of your team or your employees will trump any preferences or inclinations you have for a preferred leadership style. Varying workplace situations require different leadership styles and behaviors to be applied as appropriate.
But it is more important that leaders appreciate and understand that we have a real responsibility to flex between various leadership styles so as to be responsive to different situations and to develop those who work for and with us and who place their trust in us.
No leader will experience sustained success and support without developing and maintaining relationships or without meeting the needs of those they lead.
Regardless of any preferred leadership style, effective leadership occurs when we as leaders not only get organizational results, but when we build trust, develop competence and confidence, and transfer learning, understanding, and value to those who work for and with us.
These ten (10) sets of questions will help you determine the answer to the question, “Am I an effective leader?”
If you take the time to deeply contemplate these questions and then answer as honestly as you can, your own responses will actually tell you more for how effective your leadership style and behaviors are than any predefined/set definition for leadership.
And believe me, your employees and team members secretly express their desire to have you ask yourself these questions as well.
Effective Leaders Can Answer These Questions…
Are the people and the company better off as a result of my leadership? How do I know? On what substantive data do I base my response to this question?
Do I provide resources and remove obstacles for my staff or team members? Am I even aware of what resources they need and where the obstacles are? How can I learn more?
Do I create an environment for my team members to do their best work and be successful? What am I doing in this regard?
Do those I lead trust that I have their backs, or do they believe I am just in it for me? Either way – why and how do I know?
Am I comfortable with several “experts” being in the room, and how do I demonstrate that I value diverse and contrary input?
Did I transfer learning, understanding and value to my employees or team members? What data or information do I use to substantiate my answer?
Do I provide meaningful and relative feedback in a timely manner to my staff? What formats do I use? Is my feedback connecting to specific to position descriptions, performance goals and organizational strategy?
What permissions do I give those I lead to challenge me and give me feedback, or does feedback only go in one direction (from me to them)? Do I learn from my team what I need to keep doing, start doing, or stop doing? How do I collect this information?
Am I learning anything from my staff – my team – and, if so, what? Do I ever thank my staff for helping to develop me or enhance my leadership? How do I do this?
If I am not adding value for those who work for and with me, why then am I holding on to the leadership position? Is it about pay, title or power? Or do I really understand that my own leadership efficacy is predicated upon the value I add to my team and organization?
Step it up a notch! You can also use these questions as a 360-feedback tool, and let others evaluate your leadership through these questions.
You could take this assessment yourself and/or use it as a 360-feedback assessment by providing your employees or team members the opportunity to evaluate your leadership effectiveness for themselves.
If you do use it as a 360 tool, modify the questions from first person to third person and be sure to allow others to answer anonymously and voluntarily so they will be more likely to be as truthful as possible.
360-Feedback Can Be Hard to Take In
As you receive and interpret the results of such a 360 assessment, you will have to prepare yourself for the information you might get back. Put aside personal objections to the information you may receive.
Be open to receive the results (positive and negative) and resist the temptation to denounce the findings. Even if you don’t agree with something that is reported, make an effort to understand the responses by trying to see it from the respondent’s perspective.
And by all means, do not make any effort to learn which individuals gave which responses on the reports, and do not retaliate against or confront any staff member for contributing to the process.
Each person has his/her own experience with you. Your goal would be to learn how people experience you and whether or not you are adding value and where?
When assessing leadership effectiveness, remember this
Interpretations trump facts, effective leadership trumps position titles, and what our employees actually experience trumps any assertions we make about our own leadership efficacy.
The final judge of anything exists in one’s mind and is based on an experience. If we are deemed an effective leader, it will be because our employees and team members actually find value in our decisions and behaviors and deem it so.
Are you an effective leader? Whether you think you are or you think you’re not, on what do you base your answer?
At the end of the day, do we want people to support, work for and follow us because they want to or because they are forced to?
Do you currently have any method in place to evaluate your own leadership efficacy? What?
This article was updated on January 29, 2022, from its original publication version.
CEO, ARVis Institute
International Speaker | Strategist | Management Consultant | Educator | Author