I rarely get asked what makes an effective leader. By contrast, I often get asked what makes a great leader. Everything we read talks about being great. One of the best lessons I learned early in my career is that in many cases being effective leader is far more important than being great. The problem with greatness is that there is always someone better. Throughout my career I have had great success being an effective leader. I would much rather be an effective leader who achieves great success, than a great leader who achieves good success.
Throughout my career I have had great success being an effective leader.
We will talk about this in greater detail in another post, but business success is all about leverage. Leverage works very well in the discipline of leadership. Why? Because effective leaders surround themselves with leaders who are subject matter experts. I learned a long time ago that I cannot be an expert in everything. If I have had success in my career, it is because I surround myself with people who are much smarter than me in their chosen fields. I do not always have to be the smartest person in the room. As an executive leader, my job is to manage talent to achieve the strategic goals and objectives of the company. Leaders are evaluated based on results. The two best results you can achieve as a leader are achieving or exceeding strategic goals and create subject matter experts who love their job.
As an executive, my job is to manage that talent to achieve the strategic goals and objectives of the company.
There is no better investment a business can make than in excellent outcomes. The down payment on that investment is the investment we make in staff and staff development. We will never achieve our goals if we do not have the right staff for the right job. If our goal is to achieve truly superior results, then our first focus must be to provide our staff with a truly exceptional corporate culture that provides opportunities to grow and excel. At the end of every project or strategic planning cycle, effective leaders should ask two questions. First, am I providing my staff plenty of growth opportunity and job satisfaction? Second, did I achieve excellent results? You will find that the more satisfied staff are with the first question, the more excellent your results become.
If our goal is to achieve truly superior results, then our first focus must be to provide our staff with a truly exceptional corporate culture that provides opportunities to grow and excel.
My entire career is in healthcare. Throughout my career, I have had physicians tell me that we are not about making money. Our first objective is to provide the patient with an exceptional experience. If we provide patients with excellent outcomes and exceptional experiences, then the money will follow. It is true. I have seen this played out many times over my career. Of course, we need to make money to stay in business, but the only way we can stay in business is if our patients brag about the care and service they have received.
That philosophy is true in leadership as well. As an organization, we will only be as successful as our employees allow. When we provide a work environment that is hands down better than the competition, our staff are satisfied. When they are satisfied, they work harder and they encourage their friends to join the organization. Often, we get so focused on results and outcomes that we forget who is getting the work done. If we focus on building up staff, giving them opportunities, and allow them to participate in how work gets done; the results will take care of themselves.