5 Key Elements that Define Effective Leadership
Australians are in a state of turmoil. Though the elections are far behind us, the aftershocks of the inconclusive result are still resonating. And it doesn't look like there is a clear or straightforward solution on the horizon.
This worrying trend – in unstable leaders – is only becoming more common in Australian organisational culture. A poll conducted by Dr Brigid Van Wanrooy for the Centre For Workplace Leadership in early 2014 revealed that ''75% of the workforce agreed that Australian workplaces need better management and leadership'' 
So too then, does the government.
While having a successful leader is a crucial aspect of every organisation, truly effective leaders are hard to find. There are several key elements that the majority of highly effective leaders have in common. Below, we've highlighted the 5 most important qualities that define effective leadership.
1. Ability to delegate tasks
Often, leaders are perfectionists: they have a particular vision and they want to drive their staff, and their company, to reach that vision. However, this means that sometimes they prefer to do work by themselves, rather than sharing the burden with others. But in reality, everyone could use a helping hand, and the most effective managers and leaders are those that recognise that they too are human. By delegating tasks to others, the workload is shared and team spirit thrives. Though there is one caveat: the right task must be assigned to the right person, so that it can be completed correctly, effectively, and in a timely manner.
2. Excellent communication
An effective leader is one who communicates well across a variety of different media – email, telephone, and face-to-face. Staff need to be able to grasp the purpose, the directions, and the end goal of any project in order for it to be completed successfully. Without excellent communication skills, managers will have an extremely difficult time establishing and maintaining a productive work environment. Leaders can attend events in their community to enhance their communication skills. These events allow them insight into issues that affect them at management level, a chance to discuss these topics with their peers, as well as prospects for personal education and development, and valuable networking opportunities
Leaders are expected to be the company's backbone by being strong and confident. Managers are expected to support and carry an organisation through both the good times and the bad, while still displaying an assertive and positive demeanour. If an enterprise's leader continues to display confidence despite difficulties, employees will continue to feel comfortable and secure, and the work atmosphere will remain calm and motivated.
An extremely integral aspect of effective leadership is honesty. When a leader makes a statement or takes a particular decision, all team members must be able to believe that the leader will follow through and keep his or her word. If staff feel that their leader is dishonest – without due explanation – an environment of distrust is fostered; this can lead to high employee turnover, and further problems and expense for the organisation.
Though we all strive to hit targets, sometimes things do not go as planned. Unexpected events occur that require adjustments to be made to previous decisions that were made, or current plans of action. At these times, leaders must be able to step up to the plate quickly, and think creatively to come up with stable solutions, as staff turn to them for support and guidance.
When implemented, these qualities improve in-house communication, employee morale, and strengthen company culture. And just as a tribe flocks to support its chief, so do employees to an effective manager – thereby strengthening the enterprise as a whole.
Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.
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