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Karen Dwyer: 3 Sure Signs of Effective Leadership

Everyone has their own opinions of what characteristics make up a good leader. From well-spoken and patient to charismatic and forceful, the list of qualities can run the gamut. But sure-tell signs of effective leaders aren’t in their traits, but in their results.

As you look within your own company and try to gauge the effectiveness of your own leadership, or the leadership of others, look for these three indicators.

Consistent Growth

True leaders know they are neither perfect nor omniscient. They are always looking for ways to be better and never veer from the path of self-improvement.

One of the best signs of a good leader is a slight spirit of discontent. You have to be able to recognize that you are better today than you were a year ago, but still focus on becoming even better a year from now. And, growth can never take a backseat to your busyness.

In the book Great Leaders Grow by Mark Miller and Ken Blanchard, they point out that, “If you get too busy with your job to grow, your influence and your leadership will stagnate and ultimately evaporate.”

Continual Success

If the proof is in the pudding, then a good leader’s team will achieve success again and again. This is true in the business world and on the football field. Take Terry Bradshaw, the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who led his team to multiple Super Bowl victories, for example. You could not be an ineffective leader and still lead your team to win four Super Bowl titles. A poor leader might have a few victories, but continual success is the result of good leadership.

A recent Forbes article echoes this assertion with its statement, “The result of good leadership is high morale, good employee retention and sustainable long-term success.”

Contagious Spirit

Another quick way to determine the quality of someone’s leadership is to look at their teammates, co-workers or employees. Are they excited about what they do? Are they stepping up and taking on leadership roles of their own? A leader’s power doesn’t just rest in his or her ability to do a task well, whether it’s throwing a football or running a business. The real power lies in their ability to inspire greatness in their team. You are not a true leader if you simply inspire fear or mediocrity. Good leadership begets good leadership.

Many people proclaim themselves to be good leaders. After all, no one wants to be told that they’re a bad or ineffective leader. But, good leadership is proven through results, not words. If you really want to gauge the effectiveness of your own leadership, consider your growth, your team’s success and your teammates’ attitudes. Those three elements will tell you what you need to know.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 1025 Chapala St., Suite 206, in Santa Barbara. The opinions expressed are his own and do not reflect the opinions or policies of any outside organization. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

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