3 Critical Elements to Effective Leadership

May 16, 2023

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While the role of “Leader” can mean different things to different people, there seem to be specific
research-backed traits that are critical to being a leader that people want to work with. I’ll walk you
through what I consider to be the 3 most critical.

Probably the most critical trait to have as a great leader is Empathy. By definition, empathy is defined as
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. As a leader, you might use cognitive
empathy to help better understand, relate, and share in an employee’s perspective so
that you will know how to motivate them. Your job as a leader is to inspire your team to see your vision and motivate them to reach a certain goalpost you have established. The only way you can ensure they are willing and ready to do their part to get you is to understand

how they feel. How can you level up your empathy skills?

  1. Frequently assess your talk–to–listen ratio. How much are you talking versus how much are you listening? You should speak no more than 30% of the conversation if you are actively listening.
  2. Refrain from offering advice unless specifically requested. Offering unsolicited advice when you are
    not in the same situation as the other person can come off as judgmental. Tread lightly here. Often
    people want to be heard.
  3. Ask questions. If a team member opens up to you, ask open-ended questions, such as, “Tell me more”’ or “How did that make you feel?”. Asking questions that keep them talking shows you are committed to the conversation and care about them.

The success of a mission relies on the clarity of the message. Everything you communicate must be
extremely clear to keep a team on the same page and marching forward together. This concept goes
deep into the organization and can often be overlooked by leaders with big visions. You must be clear in
all aspects of the organization from the mission and vision of the company, to the roles and
responsibilities, to the requirements of kitchen clean-up duty. Simple statements
and directions win out for effectiveness every time.
How can you improve your Clarity?

  1. Have one-minute pitches for key messages. Try it out on small audiences before using it in a broader setting. Record it and listen back to make sure its 100% clear.
  2. In meetings with a lot of info shared, have graphics to support them. Share the
    presentation afterward. Please do not rely on people taking notes on important
    information. Just be transparent and provide it.
  3. Re-read emails always. When writing an email, always re-read it to see if you can tweak
    the message to be clearer and more succinct. Keep message subject lines clear as well.

No matter how clear your mission and vision messaging is, there will always be an evolution and
therefore a need to continue to work with your team to understand your thought
process as you and it evolves. In addition, each person has a way of working and growing, even
with a clear vision. It’s your job first to set the message and the goals clearly, and second to motivate
each person to want to arrive at the destination. Effective leaders create an environment of
ongoing coaching.

How can you improve your Coaching?

  1. Ensure there is enough one-on-one time with people to confirm they understand the mission and goals.
  2. Ask 3 layer-deep questions to find out how they will operate to meet those goals. Do they feel
    they have the tool? What obstacles do they anticipate? What kind of support do they need
    from you? How do they like to celebrate success? What can you do to help them?
  3. Give constant feedback based on observed behavior. Open dialogue (as opposed to a specifically
    times review) will help people feel great about things well done and pivot quickly when there
    needs to be a course correction.

While the role of a leader can be complex and ever-changing, focusing on these three elements is sure to
have a positive impact on you and your team.

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