Are You an Effective Leader?

3 Tips to help you become a better leader…

The words “Leader” and “Leadership” get thrown around quite a bit in today’s world. How can you know if you’re a good leader? Three qualities effective leaders should have are Vision, Passion and Empathy. Let’s look at what makes these characteristics important to effective leadership. 

Vision

Vision could be interpreted as a concept that allows one to see far off in the distance. It almost sounds like science fiction! Vision, however, is not fictional but a very real superpower– it describes the ability to see possibilities. For instance, you could pick up a plain white globe and consider all the possibilities of what that globe could be. It could be a baseball, tennis ball, the Earth or another planet, an orange; you get the picture. A leader should have the ability to see many uses for an object, product or service.  

Effective leaders can envision what potential clients, partners and other stakeholders could look like. They have a defined idea of all aspects of success. They can tell you in a few sentences what they want to do and how they want to get it done. Vision and self-confidence go hand in hand. It’s much easier to be able to visualize an idea or concept when you are confident in your ability to make the vision a reality.  

Passion  

While vision gets people interested, it’s passion that keeps their attention. People tend to gravitate toward the confident visionary who speaks with positive energy about an idea. It’s no coincidence that speakers who are referred to as dynamic are usually very popular. People such as Dr. Martin Luther King and President John F. Kennedy were dynamic speakers. They were ambitious individuals who displayed vision and empathy when they spoke, but if not for their passion they would not have been the leaders they were. When you speak with passion, people want to be part of the positive energy.

Empathy  

While vision and passion get people’s attention, they’re not enough to make a great leader. It’s empathy that brings everything home. Understanding and relating to people is a natural trait of leaders. That doesn’t mean you’ve experienced everything that others have experienced. It means you understand that experiences can be considered hardships as well as triumphs. Identifying with people is the linchpin that keeps them coming back. Empathy is the link to building trust with an audience.

If you followed the last Presidential election, there were many examples of this. Joe Biden, talking about his plans to curb the virus, was empathetic to voters by identifying with them in respect to lost family members, hardship, and more. He admitted that the achievement would not be easy, but that he knew we all had what it takes to get to the finish line.

Experts have been debating this question for years: Are leadership skills teachable? Many experts categorize leadership skills as intrinsic to the individual and unteachable; others feel that a person can be trained to be a leader. Perhaps that debate will continue forever.  

Perhaps, great leaders are born, and great managers are also born. We certainly need a bit of both. So, what’s the difference between a leader and a manager? We’ll be sure to cover that topic in a future article.