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11 Keys to Achieving Leadership Effectiveness and Excellence

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There are 11 secrets to your leadership success.  They are more than secrets and, in fact, the 11 keys to your leadership success.  These keys are the 11 E’s that are the surefire ingredients for effective leadership.  They help you unlock your hidden leadership potential and make you an effective leader.   They are Example, Energy, Enthusiasm, Endurance, Emotional Intelligence, Eloquence, Empowerment, Effectiveness, Execution, Excellence, and Ethics. We will discuss these 11 E’s succinctly which are the keys to your leadership success.

1. Example

Leadership success starts with the first key – Example. When we look at leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa what made them stand out from others is setting an example for others.  These leaders practiced what they preached throughout their lives. They have left deep imprints on humankind. 

2. Energy 

The second key to your leadership success is Energy. Every leader must demonstrate higher energy levels. Energy does not mean physical energy alone. It includes mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. When we look at leaders like Genghis Khan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Barack Obama, we find them radiating a lot of energy.  Only when the leaders are energetic they will be able to energize and influence others. 

3. Enthusiasm

The third key to your leadership success is Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is all about interest in one’s own area of activity.  It sounds like passion, but it is different from passion. Enthusiasm is contagious. Bo Bennett rightly said, “Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”

4. Endurance

The fourth key, Endurance is the ability to survive shocks and setbacks. It is a state of being unruffled and undeterred when problems crop up due to external forces and factors.  Leaders should not give up just because of a few setbacks.  They need to demonstrate endurance at all times to motivate their followers.  Alexander the Great demonstrated amazing endurance by conquering the world at the age of 32.  Samuel Adams, one of the founding fathers of America, and Sir Ernest Shackleton, the explorer are great examples of endurance.  J. Willard Marriott rightly remarked, “Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” 

“Great leaders do not desire to lead but to serve.” – Myles Munroe

5. Emotional Intelligence

The fifth key to your leadership success is Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others.  Emotional intelligence involves listening to others, picking up the hidden data of communication, acknowledging others’ perceptions, and managing people’s egos and emotions.   It is the ability and the intelligence to manage the behavior of divergent individuals in a group. Research reveals that 80 percent of your leadership success depends on emotional intelligence. 

6. Eloquence

Eloquence is the sixth key to your leadership success. Eloquence involves making the speech comprehensible to all audiences.   Eloquence is about being persuasive, fluent, and elegant in your speaking.  Eloquence is articulating your ideas, insights, and thoughts with others at ease.  It is one of the surefire ingredients of effective leadership.  When you look at leaders like Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln, Swami Vivekananda, Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Adolph Hitler, Martin Luther King, and John F Kennedy, it is very clear that they were all great orators who have left deep imprints even after their death through their eloquence.   

7. Empowerment

The seventh key to your leadership success is Empowerment.  Empowerment means giving power to your people and encouraging them to act independently so that they can learn by trial and error and build their confidence levels. It builds confidence and develops competence in them. Over some time followers can also excel as leaders.   When you empower others it indicates that you have confidence in them. It shows that you have trust in others. As trust begets trust, empowering others elevates you as a leader. 

8. Effectiveness

Effectiveness is the eighth key to your leadership success. Effectiveness is all about being qualitative in applying your efforts and energies.  It is rightly said that managers are efficient and leaders are effective.  It means being thorough in planning and execution thus minimizing mistakes.  It is a kind of qualitative and smart work.  In brief, effectiveness is all about doing the right things rather than doing things right. Peter Drucker rightly said, ”Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” 

9. Execution

The ninth key to your leadership success is Execution.  Execution is a systematic method of exposing, understanding, and appreciating the ground realities and acting accordingly.  It is a kind of mission to roll out.  It helps translate vision into reality. It is the link between strategy and reality.  It closes the gap between the vision and outcomes.  Every leader must possess this ingredient to enhance his/her effectiveness. Jamie Dimon rightly remarked, “I’d rather have a first-rate execution and second-rate strategy any time than a brilliant idea and mediocre management.” 

10. Excellence

Excellence is the tenth key to your leadership success. Leaders must excel in their areas to command respect from their followers.  Excellence should not be confused with perfection.  Excellence means being the best.  Leaders like to be at their best and they constantly strive for delivering the best results. 

11. Ethics

Last but not least and the eleventh key to your leadership success is Ethics. When leaders possess all the ten E’s and fall short of this eleventh E, they get into the abyss.  The global financial turmoil is due to the dearth of ethics in the corporate world.  Hence, ethics are the backbone of leadership success and effectiveness as it builds trust and confidence in others.   

We can summarize the definition of leadership as follows: “Leadership starts with Example and ends with Ethics and in the middle there are other E’s such as Energy, Enthusiasm, Endurance, Emotional Intelligence, Eloquence, Empowerment, Effectiveness, Execution, and Excellence.  All these 11 E’s are the surefire ingredients to excel as a successful leader.  Any deficiency in any one of these E’s affects leadership effectiveness adversely.” 

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: https://www.amazon.com/See-Light-You-Spiritual-Mindfulness/dp/1949003132. He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

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