The Essential Elements of Effective Leadership

Are you a leader of your organization? Here a few key takeaways for effective leadership.

What does it mean to be a good leader? Are there qualities a leader has to have? Or do leaders only require someone to follow them? Do you feel like you have what it takes to lead others? 

Whether you are currently in a leadership role or looking to take one on, understanding effective leadership can help you create the impact you want in the workplace. 

During her 30-year career, Michelle Mosolgo held executive level roles in Technology, Human Resources, and Corporate Entrepreneurship. She's known for discovering the amazing hidden talents in her team and mentored more than 25 successful business leaders. 

In his career, Ron Macklin went on to lead teams that set nine world records and won dozens of customer satisfaction awards. At Siemens, for example, Ron led a support division with 350 employees that worked over 5 million hours without a lost-time injury and was voted “the best place to work in Houston” by the Houston Business Journal. Twice Ron has created a growth culture responsible for increasing profits by $20 million, and has led seven different groups from worst- to best-in-class.

In this article, we'll discuss insights shared by Michelle and Ron on leadership, the power of stories, and the importance of embracing the role of a follower. Dive in to learn how to enhance your leadership skills and make a lasting impact on your team.

The Complexity of Defining Leadership

Leadership is both an action and a skill that produces an outcome or interpretation. A leader only exists if there is a follower. In essence, leadership is about creating a story that enables someone to follow, ultimately leading them to a better life. 

The Art of Crafting a Compelling Story

Powerful leaders can create a vision that compels others want to be part of the journey. Ron refers to this as crafting a story. Creating a compelling story isn't as simple as crafting it once and using it indefinitely. Instead, it's a continuous process of experimenting with stories that resonate with oneself and others. The key is to be open, honest, and authentic in your approach, avoiding manipulation or deceit. Understanding that stories may need to be adjusted over time to adapt to changing circumstances is vital for sustained success in leadership.

The Missing Elements of Leadership

According to Ron, two key elements are often missing in leadership: responsibility and the mechanic of leader-follower. Taking responsibility means crafting a story and being accountable for its success or failure. It's essential to learn from setbacks and keep pushing forward.

Embracing the role of follower is also crucial for a great leader. A good follower is open to the stories offered by others and focuses on how those stories could work rather than fixating on potential failure. Being a great follower means creating a space where one can see the potential for success in others' ideas and giving them a chance to work.

Leadership in Action: A Real-World Example

When Ron worked at Siemens, he encountered a situation that showcased the importance of understanding the intricacies of leadership. He was tasked with finding a leader for a group of technicians within the organization. Initially, Ron chose an experienced and well-liked employee for the role, but this individual lacked the skills and desire to lead others.

After realizing the initial choice was not working, Ron reassigned the individual and sought input from the team to find a suitable replacement. Eventually, they chose the finance manager, who had a natural ability to connect with and lead people. The morale of the organization improved dramatically under the new leader's guidance, emphasizing the importance of selecting the right person for a leadership role.

Lessons in Leading and Following

Ron's experience at Siemens highlights several key takeaways about leadership. First, it's essential to recognize when to step back and allow others to take the lead. By actively engaging his team and seeking their input, Ron demonstrated the value of following as a leader.

Additionally, the importance of adaptability in leadership cannot be overstated. A willingness to change course and make adjustments when necessary is a crucial aspect of effective leadership. Being open to new ideas and embracing the role of follower allows leaders to evolve and thrive in a dynamic environment.

Your Leadership Journey

If you are in a leadership role (or want to be) how can you create stories that inspire others to follow? Can you identify opportunities where you can be both a leader and a follower, and recognize the value of fostering an environment where everyone feels heard and supported?

Leadership is an art that requires continuous learning and adaptation. By understanding the importance of crafting a compelling story, taking responsibility, and fostering a dynamic leader-follower relationship, you can unlock your true potential as a leader and inspire others to achieve greatness.

If this article helped you better understand how you can be a leader at work, you might be interested in our executive coaching programs or leadership training. Our executive coaches are leaders in their fields and have transformed companies through their visionary leadership styles. To learn more about how to work with us, you can Schedule A Consultation.