Business and Management:
The Fundamental Elements of Good Leadership

No organization can succeed without good leadership. Whether it be business, trade, or education, competent leaders are needed to show the way and provide support and encouragement to employees. The process of selecting suitable leaders, therefore, is crucial to the efficiency and success of the entire organization. Interviewers must be clear about what they are looking for in potential managers, and they must select carefully from the available candidates.

Leadership is more than simple management. True leaders show qualities that demonstrate character and integrity, and they are more concerned with leading by good example than with commanding and coercing those under their authority. The objective of leadership is to gain the respect of employees, so that their loyalty is guaranteed. Loyal employees will be happy to follow a manager they respect, and if their leader is knowledgeable and skilled, the organization will be well served.

Good leaders are easily distinguishable from poor ones. An inefficient and ineffective leader tends to think short term, believing that the job at hand is all that matters. The effective leader, on the other hand, knows that voluntary support from employees is needed on a long-term basis. An intimidating manner and an aggressive tone are counterproductive, and they are not conducive to a good working relationship between manager and employees. Only by showing an understanding attitude, constant support, and genuine encouragement will the leader be able to ensure respect.

Some would argue that leaders are born rather than made, but his is only partly true. Certainly, leadership requires strong character and basic integrity, but many leadership skills can be learned through practice and careful consideration. Leaders are called upon to take responsibility, make correct decisions, and resolve conflicts. The knowledge and skills required will improve with practice, and as long as inexperienced leaders continue to respect those under their authority, and demonstrate sincerity and integrity, they are sure to succeed.

No one is able to succeed all of the time, of course, and inevitably, good leaders will sometimes fail. A poor leader may try to avoid responsibility for his or her failure, but this shows a lack of courage and credibility. The only sensible thing to do is to face up to one's lack of success and admit that a wrong decision has been made. Redirection on to the right path should be made as soon as possible. This course of action can only enhance the respect and confidence that employees have for their leader.

Managers and leaders are also required to evaluate the performance of employees. This can be a difficult task sometimes, but it is essential to the efficiency and productivity of the organization. Workers have a right to fair and realistic feedback concerning their performance. Good leaders know that skill and tact is required in making an evaluation, and they realize that the sole purpose of this exercise is to encourage growth and improvement. Again, an aggressive or arrogant approach will not achieve these objectives and must be carefully avoided.

Good leadership is the mark of a successful organization. Directors and executives of the most successful companies realize this, and they invest the time and the funds needed to acquire the best leadership available. Potential leaders must understand the fundamental elements of good management. Their personal success in a leadership role depends upon it.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.