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Do You Have the DRIVE to be a Leader?
A common definition of an effective leader is one who is able to wisely exercise influence over others for the good of the organization. In other words, to be an effective leader at work means to persuade others to accomplish your goals, i.e., the company's goals. Of course, we all know of negative ways to persuade others, which only results in temporary gain followed by a long-term drop in productivity. However, what most people are not aware of are the characteristics that effective leaders utilize daily to motivate, influence, and persuade employees. Simply stated, effective leaders engage in the following traits and behaviors to DRIVE their employees' performance.
DIRECTION: Leaders point the way for the organization and for the employees. Leaders help the organization answer the question, "Where are we going?" Secondly, leaders help employees answer the question, "What are my goals?" A leader cannot be effective until he/she knows the direction of the organization. Once the leader knows the direction of the organization, he/she can assist in directing the energy of the employees.
RELATIONSHIPS: Leaders build productive and satisfying relationships with employees. Employees develop their desire to produce and their commitment for the organization primarily through the relationships they have with the leader(s) within the organization. Leaders, who create positive relationships with their employees, have employees who are more willing to accept their vision for the organization.
INCENTIVES: Leaders create paths that employees want to follow, in order to achieve both their goals and the organization's goals. A leader first determines the organization's goals, next he/she determines the employees' goals, and then matches and correlates how the employees can meet their goals at the same time the organization meets its objectives.
VISION: Leaders talk about the current big picture and the future. Where will the organization be in a year or two? What is in store for a particular employee or department in the future? What are the company's current objectives? A leader communicates vision in terms of both fact and dreams. An effective leader does not "sugarcoat" the truth, but provides negative facts with plans for positive change. For instance, "Even though the department did not meet its goals for this quarter, my goal is to create an environment from which the department can shrink the deficit for next quarter."
ENERGY: Leaders have natural energy created by excitement. Leaders are excited both in what they are doing and the goals they have set. The leader's energy rubs off on their employees and creates a synergistic effect throughout the whole organization. Effective leaders have learned that energy, both positive and negative, is as contagious as the common cold within the workplace.
Gary Vikesland, MA LP CEAP