Effective vs. Ineffective Leadership

We’ve all, at one point or another, thrived under good leaders and suffered under bad leaders.  Those great leaders demurely hold a mirror before us and allow us to see the absolute best we are able to produce and envision. Those inferior leaders simply nonchalantly- or maliciously- stick a foot out and let us trip and fall while they check their watches and wonder who might have been looking.

The good leaders will bring a sense of purpose, vision, and competency to the table as they deftly bring out the best in their team members and get everyone to work as one in achieving a specific goal. They constructively listen to the input that their team members offer, and offer ways that such insight may be effectively implemented in achieving a goal that the leader has previously clearly stated. Furthermore, in day-to-day operations, the successful leader will not only create a positive environment of productive endeavors, s/he will also constantly prep and pave the way for further forward movement. And all this will be done efficiently, systematically, and creatively.

Now, the bad leaders we’ve suffered under have been dictatorial, unresponsive, incompetent, and removed; they often have left us feeling unmotivated, inept, and disenfranchised.

These unfortunate leaders yell and scream as they adopt the role of the all-knowing autocrat who can’t be bothered with lesser thoughts and concepts. Sometimes they try to be everyone’s best friend, and in doing so, shred productivity, trample on any initial and urgent goals that may have been present, and ultimately create an environment of false complacency. Sometimes they sit back and let it happen “organically,” thereby robbing their staff of the tools and strategies that, through their own experience, they have acquired and could utilize. Sometimes leaders will try to shoulder the burden and do it all themselves with no help from their team–thereby communicating a high level of distrust and egotism. These are ineffective leaders.

We don’t need Patton firing his silver six-shooter into the sky, leading the charge, castigating those he finds ineffective, nor do we need Michael Scott cracking jokes, trying to be the Everyman, either.

Being aware of one’s personal leadership style, how one may improve upon it, and how one may borrow techniques from other styles will enable tomorrow’s leaders to interpret the objective, understand his/her staff members’ skills and strengths, and create a playing field where success is a sure thing-not an accident, and it happens, in part, because of a successful leader, not in spite of an ineffective one.

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