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For effective business leadership, it is important to note that leadership is not just a function of following a systematic approach and achieving business results; it is also a function of leading through consolidated values and principles. The bulk of workplace leadership centers around people-to-people interactions, and almost every facet of operation at work is either influenced by or involves people. Therefore, it is important to understand that to get the best out of people, you first have to get the best out of yourself as a leader. 

Having identified the lacuna of values and principle-based leadership for business, there are six vital elements that business leaders must possess: Clarity, character, competence, connection, critical thinking and consideration.

1. Clarity

An organization’s vision is only as important as the people who run with it. The vision of the organization needs to be clear and in alignment with business operations. Business leaders should, therefore, understand that team members need a simplistic understanding of the vision in order to perform. The clearer a vision is, the clearer the expectations of employees are, and the easier execution comes. Leaders who engage clarity in operations mold themselves — and their team members — into better performers.

2. Character

Character is at the crux of effective leadership development. Unfortunately, it is an aspect that has been subjected to the back burner for so long. When the subject of leadership is discussed, elements like vision and charisma are usually at the forefront of such conversations. However, without grounded character as a key business element, a lot of business leaders will fail to build sustainable and profitable businesses.

Business leaders should ensure that corporate values are entrenched in every aspect of operations and that programs are put in place to create a culture that thrives on good character. Work ethic, innovation, excellence, respect, diligence, honesty and responsibility are certainly good foundational blocks every employee should imbibe.

3. Competence

Nothing lends credibility to you or your team more than your competence with work, with business and in execution — especially in today’s’ knowledge-driven VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world.

The need for mastery and competence is at its highest; things are changing at the speed of light, and so must business operations, knowledge base and leadership requirements. Companies may be so immersed in growth strategies, satisfying the client base and living up to the standards that they neglect the need for development. The same is true of effective business leaders. Practice self-development. Identify the core thing you do, and improve your capacity around it.

4. Connection

This speaks to your relationship with fellow leaders, employees and everyone affiliated with your work as a leader. Communication is pivotal in leadership, and connection weighs even greater. Creating a connection may seem taxing because a lot of leaders are not deliberate about building relationships. You wouldn’t connect to a hot spot if you didn’t know the password, so why hope for a connection with an individual if you are not willing to know them?

Connection-building with your employees, leaders, partners or clients could happen through casual conversations that do not revolve around work or projects, providing encouragement or feedback, or learning about their likes, interests and unique skill sets. The more you commit to this, the easier you’ll find connecting.

5. Critical Thinking

Logic, rationale and foresight are three components of business leaders who think critically. Leaders who think critically are not easily swayed or blinded by emotions. They are objective about situations, and they provide responses that draw from logic and reason.

Leaders who are critical thinkers are seldom pressured into giving opinions or picking a side. They consider multiple perspectives before forming conclusions. Do you pause and review before deciding, or are you often quick to make assumptions? Some leaders pride themselves on being accurate assumers. But top leaders concede to the importance of critical thinking, and they make it an essential part of their workplace culture.

6. Consideration

Consideration addresses a business leader’s ability to set aside their needs, emotions, and opinions to give attention to others’ needs, emotions and opinions. Consideration is a quality every workplace employee must embrace. Healthy environments inspire employees toward optimal performance, and it is by choosing to be selfless and to mind the interests of others that you breed healthy workplace interactions. Leaders wear the armor of selflessness. They do not overstep boundaries, but they’re sensitive to encourage and cater to the needs of others.

Transform your leadership by embracing these six elements. You will be amazed at how much growth you experience individually as a leader and at the workplace. Effective leadership is possible at home, at the office and in society. I am rooting for your excellence.

Article First Published on Forbes

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