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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Christian in Effective Leadership

A quick glimpse at the world today, you would count not less than a thousand leaders! They are found in our homes and families, organizations, societies, companies and the list goes on. Now take a quick look again and you will observe that our families, organizations, firms, corporations etc. are all but dignified by their leaders. They are found in every span of our lives, we see good and bad leaders by their consequences either positive or probably terrible. We see, hear, talk, eat and virtually do something together. Over the years and in our generations we’ve had experiences of these various kinds of leaders some achieve results while others in the same positions have accomplish little better still nothing. This phenomenon is explained as Effective Leadership. Since leadership is result oriented, one thing that must be clarified is that a good leader is not an effective leader. As Stodgill# writes “strong evidence indicates that different leadership skills and traits are required in different situations. The ability of a mobster to control a criminal gang is not the same as those enabling a religious leader to gain and maintain a large following”. The above assertion seeks to illuminate the concept of effective leadership in the sense that effective leadership is all about exemplified lives.
Different definitions of effective leadership abound, but one that strikes all the phases is “Effective leadership is leadership by example thus an effective leader is generally one that leads other people who follow because they believe what they do is the right thing”# . It is affirmed by Mike Henry on the Lead Change Blog#. He said and I quote “an effective leader could be defined as one who exerts influence to get others to achieve the leaders’ objective regardless of the quality of outcome” (Henry, 2010). He also emphasized that the leader only becomes effective if his followers allow themselves to be influenced.
It is the ability to translate intention into reality. Effective leaders not only say they want to do the ‘right’# thing; they follow appropriate actions (Ayres, 2004).
With the whole conceptualization of effective leadership in place we get to ask ourselves the question what makes them-effective leaders from others who achieve nothing or little at all.
As an ancient Chinese proverb goes “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember”. Good leaders talk into change, effective leaders live to change. They are also characterised by highly operational qualities. Leaders can improve their performance (results) and effectiveness by their ability to influence the group and his/her members to achieve a goal.
In Anthony D’Souza’s book, Being a Leader. He three main circles (spheres) of need effective leaders do satisfy, in a sense what makes them effective. They are:
  1. Achieve the task
  2. Build the team
  3. Motivate and develop individuals (D'Souza, 1990) .

He also highlighted that in certain situations, leaders may have to concentrate on one or the other of the other three areas. However, only by realizing how they contribute positively to all three areas can they consistently achieve effective results.
In the aforementioned sphere are other sub practices, which I will tackle in perspective as I advance in this paper.  Effective leaders’ main aim is geared towards accomplishing enterprises for which they are existent. Their main contribution towards realizing the results are buttressed by the following:
  • Determining the objectives: an objective is the main motivation a group or society exists. Once this is missing then the group is inevitable to fail. Nonetheless objectives must be clearly stated
  • Planning and organizing: ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. A priority list is the backbone of an organizational structure. Effective leaders have all these elucidated.
  • Clarifying responsibilities and accountability: Clarification of roles and responsibilities of members by the leader enhances their capacity to become future leaders and to be accountable for themselves. Lastly
  • Effective communication channels and co-operation: effective leaders keep their associates well informed and primed about what surrounds them. In the normative, we find subordinates doing the ‘real’ work, subsequently what happens if they are not fully informed?

Once all these are checked, effectively leaders can monitor their progress, check for redundant activities and if necessary change their tactics. (D'Souza, 1990, pp. 75-86)
Onto the second scope of the 3 areas, we now tackle building the team. United we stand divided we fall, leaders cannot do the job. They may lead for others to follow, “he who thinks he is leading and has no followers is just taking a walk”.
People depend respect and hence the need for others especially leaders to understand their sense of identity, personality, attitude, standard and needs. Characteristically effective leadership largely depends on team goals and objective, their roles and responsibilities, group procedures in decision making, communication and meetings, furthermore, interpersonal relationships stemming from mutual trust among members and mutual support which they receive from each other.
In terms of communication and conflict resolution, team members have no need to guard their communication asserts Anthony D’Souza. He supplementary explains that as much as differences are inevitable and sometimes desirable, they work through them openly. Group leadership needs and member resource are also need for effective leadership, as human as we are team leaders must frequently examine their style with feed back from members as well as the usage of member talents, skills, traits, abilities, knowledge and experience to give advice, counsel and support to each other.
We cannot over-emphasize the need for nurturing the team, but it certainly provides a better and an effective way of leading. (D'Souza, 1990, pp. 91-105)
Onto the last scope of the 3 areas, which is motivating and developing individuals we can discern that effective leaders know that their success is impacted by those who are closet to them. They do not leave this issue to chance. They also know that there is no success without a successor. Individuals on their own can develop themselves, but it is the duty of the leader to motivate them and see them through.
Effective leaders recognise the achievements of their subordinates. It reinforces the feeling of worth, especially when it comes from one who can influence the person’s future. Coincidentally, these leaders aim their followers at doing meaningful work or worthwhile contribution by these they attain the goal of the group.  The need for the development of an individual or followers is highly emphasized in their challenging work, which sweeps them in their abilities, talents and skills to achieve more, hence motivated. (D'Souza, 1990, pp. 107-116)
Effective leaders see every day as an opportunity to develop a potential in a person. Talents, skills, abilities can be sharpened day in and day out and this is what effective leaders do to get more results, since iron sharpens iron.
In conclusion, the ability and tendency of leaders to deliver-achieve more, wholly lies in the realization of the totality of the aforementioned circles. Thereby in realization a leader is able to lead effectively, thus achieve more while others achieve little or nothing at all.
Ayres, R. M. (2004). Lead By Example. WEIA Annual Conference (pp. 2-3). Sun Valley, Idaho: Centre for Labor Management Studies.
D'Souza, A. (1990). Being A Leader. In A. D'Souza, Being A Leader (pp. 71-74). Achimota, Ghana: African Christian Press.
Henry, M. (2010, May 14). Good Leadership vs Effective Leadership. Retrieved March 16, 2011, from Lead Change Blog: http://www.leadchangegroup.com/good-leadership-vs-effective-leadership