Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What makes an effective leader?

Martin Luther King - one of the greatest leaders of our time.

In the last week I have become involved in discussions about one of my favourite subjects - What makes an effective leader?

The discussion had me scurrying back to my reference books and to my 20,000 word dissertation Leadership in Practice (1997) when I researched leadership for three years as part of my MA Management (Healthcare) in Plymouth University

I was inspired by the leadership writings of Americans Warren Bennis and Tom Peters but the book that made the most impact on me was 'The Business of Leadership' by British authors Alan Hooper and John Potter. Sadly their book is no longer in print.

They suggest effective leadership is made up of the following competencies – what I like most is the simplicity of this approach of course.

*Setting direction - (my emphasis – this is vision)
*Setting an example - ( my emphasis – doing what you say)
*Effective communication - (my emphasis - listening as well as telling)
*Creating alignment - (my emphasis – getting people to work together to common objectives)
*Bringing the best out of people - ( my emphasis - valuing others, empowering)
*Leader as a change agent - (my emphasis - sustaining change)
*Decisions and actions in crisis or emergency - (my emphasis – offering calm yet decisive leadership in difficult situations)

Do you think there are other competencies missing from this list?


steve said...

After they have set the course and obtained the resources, good leaders get out of the way--they are not, in a word, doers.

After moving aside, their major purpose is to protect the flanks so the doers can do without interference.

Trevor Gay said...

Fabulous Steve – thank you for that.

I'm with you 100% - you must have read my book!

*Bad leaders interfere causing confusion

*Good leaders have the vision and liberate front liners to get on with it.

It really is as simple as that in my opinion

A quality of an effective leader that is often overlooked is ‘being there’ just in case people need help. Generally speaking front line staff know all the answers all the time but sometimes it is good to know the leader is around for advice.

Diana Guess said...
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