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Some of the most helpful information I have received I already knew. The problem was that I hadn’t remembered how important they were to my own success.
It is possible to be energized and enlightened even from ideas that pass through your mind, lost and forgotten, along with phone numbers, passwords and your birthday.
With that in mind, here are five aspects of effective leadership that can greatly increase morale and profits.
1. An effective leader maintains the leadership role
I was poor I mean dirt poor. I was the lowest paid sales person in the company, but I was in school full time, so education was my main focus and sales came second. Or possibly fourth.
The owner of the company did everything he could to help me. Once, he even gave me a new sports jacket, though maybe it was because he was tired of seeing the one I wore to work every day.
One cold winter morning, at 3am, when the temperature dropped below freezing, I woke up to find that my oil heater had stopped working. In a panic, I called him on the phone and he came to my house and rescued me. It’s like we’re best friends.
Because he liked me and wanted to help, it would have been easy for him to play favorites and pay me more than I was worth. The favors I received, however, were from a friend, not from company coffers.
During my job review, I asked why I hadn’t received a raise. The answer I got came from a leader, not a friend. “It’s because your sales are too low.”
I guess you can’t argue with math.
Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader
2. An effective leader makes the hard decisions
Most people put off difficult decisions thinking that the obvious answers will appear. But in many cases, there is no good decision. It’s 49% to 51% in any case. You will be someone’s friend and someone else’s enemy no matter what you choose.
A true leader focuses on the results of that decision, not who will be mad.
You may remember an episode of “The Office,” where Jim Halpert makes his first decision as a manager. The company does not have enough bonus money to go around. Who will make it and who won’t? His confident decision came under fire from people who were his best friends just the day before. lesson learned
An effective leader makes the call and faces the consequences. Sometimes leadership is the worst job in the room.
Related: 6 Ways to Make Tough Decisions Easier as a Leader
3. An effective leader sets the tone
When the mood at work is negative, it tends to affect everyone, and it’s easy to fall in line and echo the bad news. Nobody wants to be a stranger.
Maybe sales are down, or forecasts for the year are pessimistic, which can make the company’s entire outlook grow sour.
True leaders are not aligned with negativity. Instead, they bring their own positive mindset, their own vibe and optimism and deliver good news despite what seems apparent.
By doing so, they can literally change the company’s bottom line.
A Harvard Business Review article titled “Positive Intelligence” by Shawn Achor discusses the effect of anxiety at work that activates the part of the brain that processes threats and steals resources from the prefrontal cortex, which is effective to solve problems.
An effective leader must sometimes replace anxiety with anticipation. He knows that when the team is given a task and a plan of attack, they can achieve great things despite enormous obstacles.
Related: 4 ways to leverage your leadership brand and transform your workplace culture
4. An effective leader makes the mission clear
What is a mission? It is the only goal that everyone in the company understands. It is more than a goal, it is an ideal. It is the achievement that, when achieved, will change the lives of all involved.
A mission statement is concise and easy to understand. In the military, the mission is to win the war, and when that is accomplished, everyone knows it.
A leader condenses that mission into a short sentence and posts it everywhere. Everyone is very aware of this mission to the extent that what is done can be measured by whether or not any specific action helps to achieve it.
Twitter got it right: “Giving everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.”
Related: 4 Essentials to Make Your Business Mission Thrive
5. An effective leader affirms
People need affirmation. Leaders often forget that their words have far more impact than anyone else’s words. For an employee to be recognized by a leader, to be told they are doing a great job can inspire more productivity than many other incentives combined.
Knowledgeable leaders give gentle corrections behind closed doors and sandwich those corrections between two very strong statements. Praise, on the other hand, is given generously and publicly.
Perhaps, as you read this, an “Aha” moment hit you. But more than likely, you simply remembered an aspect of leadership that you had forgotten.
It’s easy for leaders like you to forget important aspects of leadership because you’re busy being amazing in so many areas of your life.
See what I did there?
Related: The magic of verbal affirmation and emotional connection in leadership roles