10 Ways to Lead Effectively

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Ten Ways to Lead EffectivelyIt is very difficult to select from the plethora of leadership skills which ones are the most effective ones. If you look at greatest leaders humankind have known you will realize that every leader has got his own personality that was formed based on the vision and set of experiences he had, although most of great leaders share common traits, the choice of top leadership skills will always remain subjective, here are another ten ways to lead more effectively.

1. Inspire

Inspiring people lead them to think of ways they would have never thought of unless they have been inspired, inspiration is the key to creativity which can lead to breakthrough ideas that subsequently can make the world better! Action centered inspiration is much more stronger than verbal one, when actions are coupled with strong speeches they lead to outstanding results, remember actions speak louder than words.

2. Motivate

Motivation is the fuel of productivity. take some time to read about motivation theories from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Frederick Herzberg’s Hygiene Factors Theory, understand what makes people tick and tailor motivation to meet people’s expectations. Read my article The Truth About Motivation.

3. Respect

Common Sense is Not Common” once said by Voltaire who was born in 16th century and died in 17th century, I don’t know what would Voltaire say if he was still living among us today! Respect has become rarified! Respect can be practiced using very simple steps but most of people are reluctant to practice it, when was the last time you got frustrated of people who do not know what netiquette is? Leaders realize the value of respect and they equally demonstrate respect to C-Level executives and junior team members. Read more about respect at RED Leadership.

4. Listen

Actively listen to your people and do not cut off them while they are talking, sometimes you will feel you can’t just wait to speak out your opinion, if you want to be a great leader you have to fight the urge to interrupt people. As a great leader you should encourage people to speak of their concerns with no fear and to be part of the decision making process. Remember to talk with your people not to them!

5. Empower

One of the biggest issues associated with delegation is delegating the activity and failing to delegate authority. Today’s number one project management problem is being responsible without being authorized that’s coupled with taming people who do not report to the project manager and sometimes are not interested in the project in the first place ( Read Weak Matrix Syndrome ). Leaders have to delegate power and be supportive to people. Empowering people is not exclusive to power, it also covers abilities and qualities by giving people opportunities that can polish their skills and nurture their experiences.

6. Tolerate

If you want to know whether someone is a good leader, make him angry! Good leaders are not easily getting angry and they quickly tolerate people’s mistakes. I have a personal story to share with you; I was once staying late in the office with my boss reviewing some software architecture model when a team member came to us blushingly smiling and he said “I have just deleted the project’s source safe database!”, we got stunned as it takes many steps to remove the database ( the Visual Source Safe is the central repository in which the team saves the work files and track different files versions ). “Is there a recent backup available we can restore?” the boss asked, “One week ago!” the team member answered, “OK, you can leave now, I will manage it with the administrator”. I have witnessed this situation seven years ago, but it always flashes in my mind, removing a central database that costed loss of a work week is not a pleasant incidence, however I was impressed with how the boss managed the situation despite all the natural frustration he felt. Most of bosses do not have the tolerance culture, in fact a boss may wait for unbelievably long time until he get it off his chest and probably by performance review in a similar way to Ken Blanchard’s NIHYSOB ( Now I have you SOB ) in his great book The One Minute Manager. Great leaders have to tolerate people’s mistake and always be ready for a fresh start.

7. Empathize

You don’t have to scratch your head every time you wonder “Why the heck these people act or communicate in such a lousy way?!” You just need to empathize. Empathy is one of the most critical leadership traits and it is not really difficult to practice, just put yourself in other person’s shoes and try to adopt his thinking style for a few minutes, hours, or days then envisage his emotional state. Empathizing helps leaders understand people better and once people’s personalities are rightly conceived everything becomes much easier; motivation, collaboration, and working style become crystal clear. If you empathize you can make informed decision and though it may not be the best decision available you will always feel comfortable. Read RED Leadership to know more about empathy.

8. Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of all successful human relationships, it is slow to build and fast to lose. You have to ask yourself whether your people trust you and you will definitely have to trust before being trusted, trust is the most reciprocal relationship between two persons. Here are a bunch of Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do tell the truth
  • Do keep your promises
  • Do share information and news
  • Do lead by example
  • Do listen
  • Do support
  • Don’t sugarcoat sad facts
  • Don’t ask for unrealistic commitments
  • Don’t micromanage
  • Don’t lie
  • Don’t use position power
  • Don’t be fickle

9. Foresee

You don’t have to look into a crystal ball to foresee. Great leaders always learn by experience and never repeat same mistakes. Foreseeing requires accurate information from trusted sources in order to anticipate the course of future events. Yet, some leaders heavily rely on their gut feeling to foresee future events and take preventive actions in order to mitigate potential losses.

10. Create New Leaders

Every leader has a vision in which he believes blindly, he doesn’t care about himself as much as he cares about his vision believing that a vision outlive the leader himself, great leaders do sacrifice to get their visions translated into results and so they do not really care about their positions, they indeed do what it takes to get results. Yet, many people are too scared to delegate responsibilities forgetting that unless someone has a surrogate he will never be able to move up. Creating new leaders is the most noble trait of leadership.

Leaders inspire, motivate, respect, listen, empower, tolerate, empathize, trust, foresee, and create new leaders. ~ Once Tweeted!

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Comments (7)

I recognise myself in ‘6. Tolerate’, before I was a PM I accidentally recursively set the permissions of an entire production server to full access. My manager kept his cool, we went over the corrective steps together. I was so amazed that he didn’t became angry at that time. Some web services just block when they notice that files are not set to a specific permission scheme. It took a week for me to fix.

Great list Kareem, thanks for sharing!
Bert Heymans recently posted..A Checklist for Handing Over a Project

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Thanks Bert for sharing your views. I have a strong belief that people can never innovate if they are afraid of someone, a leader who intimidates people and lash them to deliver is not a leader in the first place.

Tolerance is very important and leads people to be free which consequently unleashes their creativity.

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I believe “tolerate” isn’t a fortunate word. Yes, good leader doesn’t start a blame game and focus on solving the problem instead. However a leader should focus on coaching the person so they would avoid the problem in future.

By the way coaching is something which was omitted on your list and should be there. Leaders make their teams better not only in terms of creating new leaders but also in terms of making them better specialists etc.
Pawel Brodzinski recently posted..Being a Leader

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Pawel, In fact coaching is a subset of creating new leaders that can only be practiced through continous development and coaching of surrogates. However, coaching is a crucial way that has to be offered to the whole team; both surrogates and the others.

The selection of these ways is subjective as indicated before and someone else can select another completely different 10 ways, what would be your 10 ways?

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To lead effectively I think you should spend more than 50% of your time leading yourself: your purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, and conduct. Create the circumstances of what you want to make happen, go before and show the way. Pay more than lip service to the concept of teamwork. Gather everyone on your team as equals. Let the team set its own goals for success.

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Good list.

Very informative and Voltaire is correct.

Keep it up!

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