Four Differences in Effective and Ineffective Leaders

No one ever sets out to be an ineffective leader. However, whether at work, on a team, in a business, or at church, you do not have to be a genius to observe that not all leaders are equal in their abilities. What distinguishes the effective from the ineffective? Is it their personality? Their educational background? Their level of charisma? Their intelligence? Certainly, all of those criteria can be an asset, but they do not automatically make one effective.

A study by Telemetric International of over 16,000 executive leaders revealed some interesting contrasts between those who were more and less effective in their leadership. They were as follows:

  1. Those who were most effective, tended to be more concerned with people (personally) than with profits (results). The result was a group of team members (followers, employees, staff) who worked extraordinarily hard resulting in the success and progress of the organization. By contrast, the weaker leaders in the survey tended to be more preoccupied with their own personal security than the needs of others.
  2. Those who were most effective viewed the team members (followers, employees, staff) optimistically. They tended to think the best and expect the best of people. The ineffective leaders tended to distrust their team and their abilities and commitment.
  3. Those who were most effective sought to interact with their team members (followers, employees, staff) seeking advice and input on issues like vision, strategy, problems, and solutions. Those who were ineffective tended to only seek input from others on the executive level.
  4. Those who were most effective were active listeners. They tended to be personable and sought out personal input and interaction with others. Those who were ineffective avoided personal communication, leading from the office, and relying almost exclusively on written policies and procedures.

While education is of great value, you do not need an M.B.A. or a PH.D. to be effective. What you do need is an attitude that is more “others-centered” than “self-centered.” When you do, you will be on your way to maximizing your leadership!