The success of an organization comes down to leadership. Yet, not all who become chief executives or presidents turn out to be great leaders. In many instances, the quality of leadership caused the failure of a company.
No person is born a leader. It is a learned trait that is built through years of practice, failures, and successes.
What an Effective Leader Can Do
Apple is one of the biggest and most recognized brands in the world. It was the first company to reach a trillion-dollar valuation in 2018. Two years later, it became the first American company to be valued at $2 trillion.
It is hard to see the tech giant’s success now and imagine that, at some point, it was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1997, 10 years after he was fired from the company he co-founded, Steve Jobs was brought back as the CEO of Apple. At the time, the company was in dire straits. Microsoft was the dominant computer company, and Apple was struggling to keep up. During the final quarter of 1996, Apple’s sales plummeted by 30 percent.
When Jobs rejoined the company, however, he immediately took action. He convinced Microsoft to invest $150 million in non-voting stock into Apple. He also streamlined the company by letting go of 3,000 employees and cutting about 70 percent of the products that Apple had been making at the time. The strategy worked quickly. By 1998, Apple generated $309 million in profit.
Here is another example of effective leadership. Singapore’s public transport system is frequently hailed as one the best in the world. It is clean, efficient, reliable, and affordable.
Neo Kian Hong took over as SMRT CEO. He won over the public trust. He immediately identified areas in the organization that needed to be improved. He also rebuilt the organization so that it would steadily evolve and be responsive to the needs of the public over time.
Both chief executives show exactly what an effective leader can do. They can figure out where there are deficiencies, and they can make decisions that create progress. Their goal is not to profit as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. They know that improving output and building integrity within the organization is far more important and sustainable in the long run.
But, a person does not become an effective leader overnight.
A great leader is aware that they do not operate on their own. Some people work with them and the people they work to serve. Therefore, they involve others in decision-making and new policy implementation.
Every person should feel that their opinions and concerns are heard. There should not be fear that the leader will turn against them or humiliate them for voicing a thought. The leader should create an environment where everyone is permitted and feel empowered to speak.
The best way to achieve this is to sit down and talk. Have time to converse with everyone.
A good leader knows their own limits. They cannot do everything to improve the organization. They do not have a solution to all the problems, either. They instead recognize the capabilities of their team and trust each member to do their best to achieve the common goal.
Delegation is a trait of an effective leader. But, it is not as easy as throwing orders around. The secret to delegation is knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the team. That way, the leader can assign tasks based on the person’s expertise, leading to a successful outcome.
Moreover, delegation requires faith. When necessary, the leader should be ready to offer a helping hand, but they also know to back off and let their team handle their respective responsibilities. Micromanaging someone else’s work is rarely effective and can demoralize employees.
Open to New Ways of Thinking
A person who holds onto old ideas and strategies does not become an effective leader. Being close-minded dooms an organization to irrelevancy. The world is constantly changing. Organizations, and their leaders, should continue evolving.
That is why an effective leader is always open to new concepts and ideas. They are happy to explore novel solutions to move the organization forward.
The most successful companies revolutionize the market. Their leaders see potential where no one else can and fully support it. They understand that failure is a possibility, but they are willing to try because innovation will bring success.
Not everyone is an effective leader, but any person can be one. It takes time and requires hard work, but it is possible to steer an organization toward achieving a goal successfully.