What is Leadership Effectiveness & How to Develop It?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”- Aristotle
Do you think that you are an effective leader?
If Yes, has your leadership effectiveness been measured?
These are vital questions that every leader who wants to create an impact should answer.
In a fast-paced business environment where you may be required to manage teams in multiple locations or lead diverse teams, one needs to learn how to be effective in offering strategic leadership, no matter the preferred leadership style.
Successful leaders have a combination of various elements that adds up to create effective leadership. Great leaders are often remembered once they leave office, as we can point out the initiatives, financial performance, interpersonal skills, organizational culture, and decision-making skills that helped drive the organization forward.
Leaders such as Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and Sakichi Toyoda come to mind.
It is not far-fetched to state that leaders influence organizational effectiveness. Get a sloppy or incompetent leader, and the same will be replicated across the organization.
This calls for those in leadership positions to master effective leadership skills.
What is Leadership?
Leadership is both the art and science of leading a group of people to desired objectives. It is an art due to the human element, and science is the practice due to advancements that have made leadership a study area.
Leadership can be implemented in different ways: Democratic leadership, Autocratic leadership, participatory leadership, and Bureaucratic leadership, among others.
To be a good leader and deliver successful leadership, one must understand what effective leadership entails. This way, they can effectively lead teams.
What is Leadership Effectiveness?
Broadly speaking, Leadership effectiveness is the ability to influence a group of people(employees, stakeholders, etc.) toward achieving strategic objectives.
Many researchers have studied leadership effectiveness on how it plays a role in societies, companies, and politics. With varied viewpoints, one thing stands out: entities led by effective leaders have favorable outcomes.
Leadership effectiveness determines organizational success; thus, leaders must create accountability for themselves and management.
How to Measure Leadership Effectiveness?
When evaluating leadership performance, most organizations focus on results, not the process. This often can lead to wrong outcomes as processes often take time to materialize.
Moreover, with so many different ways to evaluate leadership effectiveness, it’s easy for leaders to become disoriented and lose track of what is most important for their specific team and organization at this current stage in its development.
To avoid falling into that trap, it helps to clearly understand which metrics will give you the insight you need. Let’s take a look at some options:
- Employee Engagement: Engagement reflects how positively or negatively employees feel about their work. It’s the degree to which employees feel invested in their work and connected to their organization. Engagement is a strong indicator of employee retention and productivity and shows a leader's ability to create such an environment.
- Organizational Supportiveness: Organizations with supportive cultures have higher employee retention, less burnout, fewer health issues, and more positive relationships among team members. Effective leaders understand this principle.
- Collaboration and Culture: Collaboration and culture are strongly linked to supportiveness, so they’re often used interchangeably. However, they each indicate a slightly different aspect of the team dynamic. A strong collaboration culture is indicative of effective leadership.
- Measuring the Company's Profitability: It is often said that the numbers never lie. If a company constantly posts profitability, there is something right about its leadership or managerial effectiveness.
- Delegate Tasks Effectively: good leaders delegate effectively. This is because it leads to better outcomes. A Gallup study established that CEOs who delegate effectively report 33% higher revenue. Moreover, it frees up time for leaders to focus on other critical areas of the business.
- Look at Team Growth: One measure of leadership effectiveness is team members' growth. Effective leaders prioritize team growth as it assists the team moves in the same direction - at the same pace.
- Team growth can mean getting new skills, getting promotions, or even being poached by rival companies.
- Look at Team Confidence: when team members know that they are headed in the right direction or feel appreciated as a vital team member, they will be naturally drawn toward the leader as an endorsement of leadership effectiveness.
- It is important to note that a team's confidence is not linear but rather a construct of many inputs. That said, an effective leader ensures that the team shows confidence to work together and deliver set goals.
- Measure the Team productivity: production here refers to whether set objectives are being realized in given timelines. For example, is the sale team meeting a set objective? Is the human resource department getting the best talent? If the answer is Yes, it points to leadership effectiveness in passing clear instructions and motivating a team towards set goals.
Ways to Improve Leadership Effectiveness?
Improving leadership effectiveness often combines many factors, some of which are learned from mentors, through training, and practice. Here are some ways to improve leadership effectiveness and lead your team to success:
1. Nurture a Culture of Accountability
Nurturing a culture of accountability for team members and yourself as a leader ensures that everyone becomes responsible for their actions. This leads to honest feedback when doing team development assessments and eliminates the culture of blame gaming that often passes the buck around without any tangible solution.
2. Set SMART Goals
Setting smart goals- (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding what needs to be accomplished and their specific role working individually or in teams.
To ensure positive outcomes, communicate goals clearly and ask for feedback before the commencement of a quarter or when doing specific programs.
3. Create a Culture of Feedback
Closely related to accountability is the culture of feedback. This makes it easy to learn how direct reports, management, or other team members view your leadership performance.
This will enhance leadership effectiveness, as one learns their weaknesses, making them a better leader.
4. Get Additional Training
Enhanced training, such as executive coaching, can help boost a leader's emotional intelligence, self-awareness, effective team dynamics, and ability to relate effectively with their team. Additional training is particularly important in understanding the science part of leadership on issues such as behavioral complexity, group dynamics, and effective leadership styles for particular settings, among others.
5. Empower Your Team Members
To increase leadership effectiveness, you need an empowered team. Such as, a team works with little supervision, enhances a leader's ability, shows greater accountability, and is likely to make smarter decisions.
Some tips for empowering your team members include: offering mentorship lessons, offering constructive criticism, encouraging effective communication, and regular training.
6. Practice Inclusive Leadership
Inclusive leadership is characterized by clear communication, empathy, encouraging participation, relationship building, and facilitating inclusive meetings.
This form of leadership leads to success as teams feel appreciated vital in fostering a leader's effectiveness.
7. Walk the Talk
Leaders lead best by walking the talk. This way, they set an example and inspire teams to deliver on targets. Walking the talk can entail practicing emotional control, empathy, punctuality, integrity, and encouraging participation.
8. Learn to Manage Expectations
Managing expectation is a vital skill for leadership effectiveness. The best leaders know how to set and manage employee and stakeholder expectations. For example, they offer clear and concise instructions, don't beat around the bush on expectations, and are ready to be held accountable for promises.
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What are the Pillars of Effective Leadership?
A leader's effectiveness is underpinned by four pillars: Integrity, accountability, bravery, learning, and knowing how to motivate.
- Integrity: a leader who practices integrity rarely goes wrong. Integrity is perhaps one of the greater pillars of effective leaders, as its absence potentially can affect a company. The tenants of integrity are honesty, morality, reliability, and leading by example.
- Accountability: For leaders, Accountability entails taking ownership of their own behavior. This means acknowledging that the buck stops with you. An effective leader practices accountability and makes it a core element for employees and other stakeholders.
- Practice Bravery: Bravery in leadership entails being mentally prepared to deal with challenges that can affect business results. This can range from speaking on behalf of the companies during difficult stretches, dealing with difficult employees, and committing to purpose.
- Learning: Effective leaders understand that to develop growth, continuous learning should be part and parcel of their undertaking - as individuals and for employees. Learning that cuts across the board impact useful skills, such as managing up, handling stress, increasing efficiency, etc.
- Knowing how to Motivate: When leading a team, knowledge of motivating people is important. Motivation skills can be practiced when boosting morale, building relationships, and creating a positive workplace.
- This is because there will be days when team members need it. Moreover, a leader's attributes, such as empathy, work ethic, integrity, and genuine concern, can motivate a team.
- Positive Attitude: Leaders should keep a positive attitude to inspire confidence no matter the situation. It is important to note that a leader's attitude rubs off employees and creates a bad attitude, which will likely be the company culture. A positive attitude inspires resilience and creates productivity in trying new strategies.
How Highrise can Help
When evaluating leadership effectiveness, it’s important to understand which metrics will give you the insight you need. Each of these metrics indicates a different aspect of team culture and performance.