Defining Effective Leadership – What Is It, Really? [Part One]

Most business owners and leaders know that “effective leadership” is essential to the success of an enterprise. However, determining exactly how to improve leadership skills can be challenging. Everyone’s got an opinion, but where are the facts? M

A recent McKinsey research study identified four key characteristics that account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness. This post focuses on two of these characteristics: Effective problem solving and a strong results orientation.

Solving Problems Effectively

The people in leadership positions are responsible for making a number of decisions that will affect the company. Most, if not all, of these decisions are preceded by problem solving. During problem solving, leaders collect, analyze and consider information in order to determine the best course of action. To improve the effectiveness of problem solving, leaders will:

  • Create a detailed procedure for resolving issues. This procedure includes provisions for defining the problem, listing possible solutions, comparing solutions to one another in the context of goals and ultimately coming to a decision.
  • Consider consequences of each alternative. Every possible solution will have consequences for the company and/or the people involved. Leaders consider both short-term and long-term consequences carefully.
  • Involve other personnel. Although the leader may be responsible for making the final choice, involving other personnel in the brainstorming phase of the problem solving process is beneficial.

Strong Results Orientation

To be successful, leaders must be able to develop a vision for the future of the company and set objectives that need to be met. The best leaders will also be able to follow through with this vision to produce tangible results. These leaders tend to emphasize productivity, efficiency and value. To become more results oriented, leaders will:

  • Devise a procedure for quantifying results. Leaders will have a clear, concise system for quantifying the results of their efforts as they work toward various objectives.
  • Evaluate progress regularly. Leaders will assess progress toward a goal on a regular basis to ensure that the company is on track.
  • Make changes based on results. When results are not in line with the goals, the leader will make changes in order to improve progress.

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