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Effective Leadership Means Better Results, Guaranteed

Leadership requires a multitude of talents, abilities and outlook.

While seeking to lead, managers need to keep in mind the needs of the employees they direct..

Bernard Curtis, a senior level business consultant offers these strictures for effective leadership:

  1. Leaders actually lead the human spirits of the people reporting to them. People bring their knowledge skills and abilities to work every day, but they also bring their individual human spirit.  The human spirit is the intangible, internal, motivational essence of a person that generates the desire to commit to and engage in any human activity and to create what is personally beneficial.  The leader cannot change what is in a person’s heart, mind, or spirit but can positively influence the human spirit of those in his or her organization.
  2. Valuing the human dignity of workers produces more productivity, loyalty, and engagement.  One can only show others respect and preserve their dignity when one operates from a belief in the value of the human being.  Human-affirming leaders seek to create an environment where the dignity of each person is considered and valued.  This means having (1) honest dealings, (2) compassionate interactions, (3) responsible behavior, and (4) ethical decisions.
  3. Leadership is about getting things done through the power of human-affirming interactions.  People are the ones who get things done in organizations and the enlightened leader understands the power of valuing his or her people.  This provides a sense of connectedness, a sense of sanctuary, a sense of well-being, a sense of self-worth, a sense of values alignment, and a greater sense of personal commitment.
  4. The new employee contract calls for collaboration between leaders and followers.  Employees today want to have a voice in work policies, practices, and procedures that affect them.  They want to make sure that the leadership of the organization knows how they feel about what they do and how they do it.  Employee input provides an opportunity not only to engage them but also to begin influencing them in a positive way to embrace the policies and practices of the organization.
  5. Organizations with soul bring out the best in people and generate more productivity.  The soul of an organization can be clearly seen in its belief system, policies, practices, and accepted behaviors.  Organizations with soul bring out the best in people because they have: (1) a healthy heart (culture of caring), (2) a vital spirit (creativity, innovation, work enthusiasm), and (3) an authentic character (integrity, honesty, fairness, ethical decisions).
  6. It takes courage to be a human-affirming leader.  Having courage requires the leader to reflect high moral standards and character.  Leadership courage is moral courage.  Courage is “self-affirming.”  When one demonstrates courage, it immediately affirms one’s personal strength of mind and spirit.  The leader must demonstrate moral bravery, moral perseverance, moral authenticity, and moral vitality.
  7. Continual leadership development requires challenging long-held beliefs about what is effective.  In order to change one’s behavior, it is necessary to reflect on past behavior and understand what fundamental belief (what statement about one’s reality that one accepted as true) was the antecedent for the behavior.  This is especially true for leaders because there is a reluctance to challenge how one has been doing things in the past.  We all operate from our belief system and long-term effective leadership behavior change is not possible without challenging your beliefs.
  8. The level of leader-follower trust affects the employee’s motivation to perform.  Trust is the bedrock of any relationship and in the workplace it affects the way workers and supervisors respond to each other.  The higher the level of trust the more a person will be motivated to support the leader and contribute to the organization.  The leader must be unconditionally trustworthy.  Everything a leader does either enhances or erodes trust.
  9. Creating a “coaching culture” produces both greater employee skill and knowledge, and increases individual performance.  Having a coaching culture in your organization demonstrates that you value the individual and are willing to make an investment in his or her future.  Stewardship of organization talent is a primary responsibility of every leader because maximizing organizational performance is necessary for sustaining and growing the organization.
  10. Ineffective leadership has a very high cost.  This high cost of ineffective leadership is often hidden in the details and is not always obvious.  Leaders cost their organizations money when they have a failure in either competence (knowledge and skill) or character (principles, integrity, trustworthiness, etc.).  The costs are often hidden in such areas as, increased turnover, additional cost of materials and financial resources, client or customer losses, increase absenteeism, or reduced employee productivity as a result leader behavior.

Curtis also says there are four key dimensions of leadership.

  • envisioning – focusing on the future and communicating it effectively
  • Managing – focusing on the present and allocating resources effectively to get results
  • Coaching – focusing on others and their development, growth, and success
  • Pacesetting – focusing on self and ensuring that you are a role model for the behaviors and principles that reflect the organizational culture you want

Bernard M. Curtis is currently the president of Human Development Strategies, a leadership training development company and author of The Affirmation Principle,


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