What Makes An Effective Leader

What Makes An Effective Leader

Simon Sinek gave a talk recently that discussed what makes an effective leader. He said there are three main characteristics:

  1. courage
  2. character
  3. and integrity.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how do you actually walk out integrity?

Sinek says it starts by being authentic. And authentic means you do and say the things you believe.

Living with authentic integrity sometimes puts you in situations where the betterment of a deal (or relationship or conversation) will go against you. For example, you make less money or give credit where credit is due. But you do these things because it’s the right thing to do.

Living with integrity is saying "I didn’t do that, she did. Oh and by the way, she’s smarter than me."

But what about charisma? You don’t have to be that interesting or have the best personality to be a great leader.

What about vision? You don’t have to have a vision to change the world, but you do need to take care of the people around you.

Being Steve Jobs is not a prerequisite for effective leadership.

Effective leadership can be very small on the vision scale.

And a side note here, leadership and authority are not the same thing. There are many people with great authority who are not leaders. We do what they tell us because they have authority over us. But we do not follow them.

And then there are people at low levels of authority, but they’ve made a choice to lead. Which means that they’ve consciously chosen to take care of the person to their left and to their right. And they would follow him and trust him always.

Leadership is the commitment to take care of one other human being even if it’s just one person. And that’s why people choose to follow you because they trust that you’ll be there for them. And you are their safety net.

(photo via vinoth chandar)