What Does It Take to Be an Effective Leader?

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What Does It Take to Be an Effective Leader?
What does it take to be an effective leader in today’s fast paced and ever changing world? A leader must be able to move quickly from one agenda to another. A leader must be able to inspire a person or a group of people to want to do their best. A definition of leadership can be, “A relationship through which one person influences the behavior of other people” ( Mullins, p. 904 ). One of the biggest problems that a leader in any organization has to deal with is change. Leaders have to be versatile and willing to make tough decisions in today’s economic climate. We will analyze what it takes to be a successful leader and how to manage the people around you for the best results. Asking questions of what constitutes a successful leader will also be part of the agenda.

An effective leader must learn how to manage organizational change. Every successful company will have to go through some type of organizational change at some point. Organizational change should only be attempted if there is true performance improvement needed. A strong leader must be willing to put an individual or group through a performance improvement plan if it is warranted. A performance improvement plan should be used when, “you have identified a performance problem and are looking for ways to improve the performance of an employee.” (http://www.indiana.edu~uhrs/training/ca/performance.html) Many leaders are afraid to initiate organizational change for fear they will be looked at as the bad guy. Leaving a poor performer working for you not only hinders their area of responsibilities but it can have negative impact on the good performers as well. The team will feel like “Why should I work hard when no one is held accountable?” “We have a manager who doesn’t care because they aren’t taking care of the problems.” Holding your poor performers accountable will not only have positive results, your good performers will respect you more and want to work harder for you.

If a leader wants to do their best then they cannot only look at the organization, they must also think introspectively. Emotional intelligence is an important quality that a leader should possess to be successful with leading teams. Emotional intelligence is defined as “your ability to be aware of and to understand your own emotions and those of others, and to be able to manage your emotions effectively to have the desired impact.”(Slocombe, S. 2009 p.32) At first glance, a typical leader might see the word “emotion” and dismiss this as some childish method to work with your team. The fact is, emotional intelligence can help you understand your own abilities and can help you improve the performance of your team.There are ways to measure emotional intelligence called the Emotional Quotient Inventory that measures 133 items or questions. If you have a high level of emotional intelligence you should be able to know what your best emotional state is. Watching the pattern of what you do to get to the positive state of being will help you consistently achieve a high level of performance. There are four capabilities (Goleman, p.80) that you should possess to have an “above average” level of emotional intelligence: 1.Self-Awareness - The ability to accurately understand your own emotions and how they affect the people around you. A strong level of self-confidence. 2.Self-Management - Having initiative and adaptability to manage your own emotions. 3.Social Awareness - Being skillful at being empathetic, customer service needs, and organizational awareness. 4.Social Skill - Having abilities that inspire the team around you. Able to improve the ability of the people around you. Proficient at conflict management. Having these skills will help a leader be more effective by showing their teams that they truly want to do a good job. These skills can be learned and improved upon over time.

Cross-cultural communication is another area that a leader...
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