What makes a leader?

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What makes a leader?

Leaders are persons who respond to the needs of their team members and give directions to the group. Five basic principles seem to underlie all of their actions, whether they are facilitating tasks or supporting the interactions within the group.

 Five basic principles for an effective leader:

  • Lead by example
  • Focus on behavior
  • Value others
  • Build constructive relationships
  • Make things better

Effective leaders exemplify all of these interrelated principles. Although no single set of examples can fully describe how to act out these principles, they offer a basis against which a leader can choose specific actions. As a leader you can ask yourself:

  • Am I acting the way that I want others to act?
  • Am I looking at the facts or generalizing?
  • Do my actions communicate that I value your contribution?
  • Is there an opportunity for all to benefit from this change?

Some examples of these principles being transformed into actions include:

  • Developing and following meeting agendas.
  • Completing action items and tasks on schedule.
  • Following the problem solving process (ask Why? 5 times).
  • Listening to team members and allowing everyone to participate.
  • Working to understand the emotions of team members during times of change or conflict.
  • Inviting differences of opinion and then encouraging joint problem solving towards a mutual goal.
  • Constantly focusing attention on the team’s goal.
  • Encouraging the taking of risks.
  • Giving sincere praise to individuals and to the team for the completion of tasks.

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