Become an Effective Leader

Whether you’re already leading a team or project or aspiring to become a leader this year, we need your leadership. Confident leaders are essential for organizations, businesses, and governments to succeed. But in order to reach your leadership goals, you need personalized, concrete actions to follow.

What does effective leadership look like? We will present 5 tips on becoming an effective leader: excellent communication skills, appropriate education, self-awareness, the ability to network, and a professional online presence. Let’s break down those tips so you can become the effective leader you aspire to be.

5 tips to become an effective leader

1: Effective leaders need communication skills

  • Read. Great communication will never develop in an echo chamber. You have to expose yourself to great writing in order to know what great writing looks like. Remember to read publications that pertain to your industry so you know what terminology and style are appropriate.
  • Sign up for Daily Page. The goal of this resource is to help you write regularly. You receive a daily prompt, write a response, and then decide if you want to keep it private or make it public. This resource is helpful because repetition is key to consistent improvement.
  • Join Toastmasters. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by giving and/or listening to speeches. Toastmasters has over 15,900 clubs in 142 countries, so you can shop around and find the right club for you.
  • Body language. Pay attention to your body language. Focus on your posture, where your hands are, and your facial expressions when you are speaking. Your non-verbal communication speaks just as much as your verbal communication.

2: Effective leaders need appropriate education

  • Attend workplace training. This is a convenient way to receive a little more training that can benefit you in the long run. Not all employers offer such training, so you may need to seek education from an outside source.
  • Talk to HR about pursuing additional education. Find out what kind of financial support your employer provides to help you further your education. Understand your options. It is vital to get the right information to make an informed decision.
  • Enroll in a master’s program. It has become increasingly common for companies to only consider applicants with master’s degrees rather than bachelor’s degrees. Consider a degree designed to prepare leaders like the Masters of Leadership program offered online through Concordia University.

3: Effective leaders need self-awareness

  • Ask for a performance evaluation. Hopefully, your employer already prioritizes regular performance reviews. If not, ask for one. Performance evaluations provide an opportunity to identify areas for improvement, address personal concerns, and negotiate promotions and salary increases.
  • Take a personality quiz. Knowing how you think and act helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. This is particularly helpful for understanding how you interact with team members. If you want the most accurate results, pay for the official Myers-Briggs test. Free variations sometimes give helpful information but are not especially credible.

4: Effective leaders need a network

  • Create and maintain your LinkedIn account. Companies use this resource to recruit new employees, and professionals use it to form mutually beneficial connections.
  • Set lunch dates with influential co-workers. In the digital world, it is vital to be building face-to-face relationships whenever possible. Enjoying lunch provides a great opportunity to casually get to know other people and their connections. Bonus: you get to work on your oral communication skills.

5: Effective leaders need an online presence

  • Research the basics of an online presence. One of our previous posts explores what a healthy online presence looks like with 4 Power Tips to Grow Your Online Presence. You don’t have to be a tech wizard to take control of your online information.
  • Create an online professional portfolio. Have you ever Googled yourself? If the obituary of someone you don’t know pops up, your online presence needs some work. PortfolioGen is a resource that allows you to share your professional achievements with peers and administrators. Your other social media platforms should also reflect your professional reputation.

Your Next Step to Become an Effective Leader

If you follow through on just one step per tip, you are well on your way to becoming an effective leader. Imagine the possibilities if you picked two steps per tip! If leadership is important for reaching your career goals, consider the Masters of Leadership program here at Concordia University. With this program, you have the opportunity to complete a master’s degree AND your goal to become an effective leader by this time next year!

This blog was originally published on January 16, 2020. It has been updated to reflect current information.