Keys to Effective Leadership

Effective leaders have productive teams. Those leaders possess common qualities like building trust, a necessary foundation for a high-performing team. With high levels of trust, teams are more productive, have a greater sense of unity and are supportive. An effective leader is also able to help his or her team work through conflict. Additionally, a true leader is reliable and holds each team member accountable to accomplish organizational goals. Before one can develop an effective team, a leader must have the training and skills to be successful. That development begins in the new leadership phase and builds as the leader further develops communication skills, conflict management strategies and is able to manage time and priorities.

Getting Started

Effective new leaders are able to: quickly and effectively generate results; focus time and efforts on high-priority tasks; lead teams to contribute to the organization’s business strategies; and achieve results through others by building strong relationships with team members — empowered employees produce. Trust, respect and the ability to inspire are essential characteristics of a true leader. The quality of the manager’s relationship with direct reports is a key predictor of turnover, customer satisfaction, employee job satisfaction, morale and performance.


Organizations proven to be successful on a consistent basis communicate effectively from top down and frontline up. With an emphasis on the importance of communication, these organizations benefit from higher performance of individuals and teams in the workplace, satisfied customers and better bottom-line results. Employees feel engaged and are able to communicate with their immediate supervisors to understand how their role impacts the basic core values and big picture effort to execute the strategy.

Face-to-face dialogues are critical to success in business. The ability to get your point across when negotiating a deal, speaking to executives, interacting with clients or seeking buy-in from staff can make or break what you need to accomplish. A masterful storyteller uses words, voice, tone and body language effectively to communicate. Eye contact and listening to responses are vital to effective communication. Listeners need to feel they are part of the discussion on an intimate level. As a leader, one must speak from a place of passion, using persuasion rather than manipulation to impact listeners. One situation many leaders encounter today is that they must connect with the remaining workforce after a reduction in force by offering clarity, sincerity and caring to reduce the survivor guilt factor so team members can get back on track and become productive.


The true challenge of any leader is managing change and conflict. Pick your battles wisely and meet with team members one-on-one. Do not encourage negative behavior and do not write people off so soon. Leaders are responsible for creating a work environment that enables people to thrive. In order to do so, intervene immediately when disagreements and disputes occur — become the mediator who resolves the conflict, which usually affects more than the participants. Meet with participants, understand the situation, discuss a solution, get buy-in and commitment to the plan, expect individuals to be proactive and assure all that you have faith in them. Set specific timelines, continue to communicate and review progress and make it clear that resolution is expected for the success of the organization.

Time and Priorities

Leaders who begin to focus on big projects, then leave space for dozens of little things to consume their time, often lose focus on what really matters. In this case, failure is inevitable. To ensure success, leaders must take a sensible approach to managing time and priorities. Plan for the future, spend one-on-one time with your team, develop talent and succession plans, delegate constructively. It is all about focus, planning and building relationships with key contributors. Create new business opportunities and fix problems once and for all. You will see a difference when you can balance work life with your personal life. Colleagues will notice that difference too.

Corporate College, a division of Cuyahoga Community College, helps organizations develop successful leaders through customized learning solutions designed to fit the needs of a wide range of industries. Customized learning solutions facilitated by top-notch facilitators are available for frontline managers, mid-level managers and senior leaders. Corporate College offers organizational development tools and services including: training and development consulting; executive coaching; train-the-trainer seminars; surveys and assessments to increase levels of performance, employee engagement and business results.

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