There is no one-size-fit-all, pre-formulated pill for effective leadership. Good leadership becomes important when you move up ranks and need to manage employees. The rules below outline the "Dos and Don'ts" for a good leader.
Rule #1 – practice what you preach
It may be a very simple rule, but surprisingly not an easy one to follow. More often than they realise, there are discrepancies between what leaders and manager preach and what they actually do. For example, if you stress a “promote-from-within” culture but keep recruiting from outside to fill the senior level positions, your employees will eventually lose faith in your leadership.
Rule #2 – walk the tightrope
There are times when being a leader requires the ability to make tough or even unpopular decisions so that things can get done. People look to their leaders for directions so that they know where to go and how to get there. A good leader walks a tightrope at all times, balancing between the consent he must win and the control he must exert in order to move the organisation and his people to the next level.
Rule #3 – be a good follower
The best way to learn is to be a good follower, and constantly benchmark yourself against those whom you aspire to be. A good follower can effectively shape and have a positive impact on the leadership of the company by keeping them on track. It takes a lot of courage and integrity to be a good follower, and people who live by these rules will not only be effective staffers but will also be well on their way to becoming leaders of character.
Rule #4 – treat your people as assets
A good leader should coach, mentor and influence people to perform at their best. Exercising leadership also means being able to powerfully articulate your vision and inspire your people to rally around it. It is easy to force or demand someone to do what you want them to do, but it takes a visionary person to be able to spot the potential in his/her employees, raise their aspirations for what they can become and make them want to achieve these visions for you.
Rule #5 – assess yourself regularly
Regular self-assessment will not only keep you on track, it also provides great guiding principles in your leadership duties. Do you take responsibility when things go wrong, and turn the spotlight on the people around you in good times? Have you done all in your power to spur people to do their best, and incentivise/encourage those who haven’t? Do you allow people to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them or are you quick to blame?
Ultimately, there is no cookie-cutter template for leaders and the best ones usually developed their own style of carrying the torch over the years. The challenge of powerful leadership is to find the style that fits you best.