We’ve talked a fair amount here about the practical strategies and tools associated with being a manager, but no matter how many options you have in your personal toolbox, you are the only person who can make yourself effective when you implement those tools.  Being effective means getting things done in spite of challenges and obstacles.  An effective leader sees the bigger picture and moves his or her team towards the tough goals, sometimes without being asked.  That proactive recognition of what the organization needs vs. what the job description says is a key aspect of your ability to succeed and rise to the highest levels of management.

Here are some of the key qualities of an effective leader:

See the Big Picture – Have you ever been given an objective that didn’t make sense?  If you can’t place your goals in context so that you truly understand their importance, you probably won’t work very hard to make sure they get done.  When you are working with your team to set goals, make sure everyone is crystal clear on how the achievement of this objective matters to the organization as a whole.  This will help you and your team engage the right resources from other parts of the organization to get the job done.

Make it Personal – Finding the will to persist despite obstacles is rooted in personal motivation.  If it matters to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.  It’s easy to find excuses (even valid ones) for why something didn’t happen.  While you might not get in trouble for failing to achieve a goal provided you have a good reason, you also won’t get ahead.

Take Risks – If the status quo isn’t working, find another way.  Doing more of the same ineffective thing may make you look very busy, but it won’t produce much.  Your ability to be creative in problem solving, to engage resources and to bring your manager ideas instead of problems will lift you up the ladder of success.  Sometimes taking a risk will backfire, but it’s much better than doing nothing or doing something that you know won’t get the job done.

Be Relentless – If you find yourself coming up with new ideas in the shower, you are probably on the right track.  Obstacles should sharpen your focus on finding solutions to the point that your mind is constantly seeking a way to reach the end goal.  Dogged pursuit is sometimes the only way to win.  Let other people call you stubborn, but if something hard is worth doing, persistence is the key.

Being effective means focusing on results.  It means actively refusing to allow yourself excuses or rationales for why something can’t be done.  Anyone can say “I can’t” but if you want to get ahead you need to challenge yourself to say “I can and I will”.

Are your management skills holding you back?  I can help!  Contact me to see what a little coaching can do for your career!

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