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7 Things Leaders Must Do To Be Effective Today

female leader

What makes an effective leader these days?

I was asked that question recently and I had to think for a moment. The question was asked in a way that caused me to believe the questioner felt my answer would be different today than ten or twenty years ago. Would it? Is leading any different today than in years past?

Well, it’s a good question, and I’m not going to attempt to answer it in this post (how’s that for dodging a question?), but let me attempt to put some answers to the question I was actually asked.

What makes an effective leader these days?

Perhaps in thinking through that question we’ll find answers to the question this question raised in me.

Here are 7 things leaders must do to be effective “today”:

Think bigger – Leaders don’t have the luxury of “resting in the moment” for long. Celebrate yes. But, then the leader must begin thinking “What’s new?”, “What’s next?” or “What needs improving?” Things are changing fast and to keep up, you’ll have to always be thinking beyond today.

Include others – There once may have been a day where a solo leader could flourish, but those days are gone. People want a seat at the table of decision. Information can no longer be controlled. (Not that it ever should have been, but it was easier. We can Google most anything today.) Reclusive leaders aren’t trusted and therefore not followed far. In the process, they waste valuable talent and opportunities from people on their team.

Remain positive – Leading isn’t easy. To say it is would mean life is easy…and it isn’t. Leading involves navigating through ups and downs and the successful leader will be the one who can keep people anxiously and excitedly looking forward through each season. On dark days a leader must point people towards better days…towards hope.

Challenge status quo – Change has always been part of society, but today change is happening at warp speed. Leaders must be agents of discovery and agents of improvement. Effective leaders must continually encourage people beyond what they think they can do.

Insure strategic thinking – We rarely reach a destination by chance, and so effective leaders are strategy experts. They work with people to craft a path to reach a destination that may not always look exactly like what we thought it would, but gets us closer to achieving our vision. We must get better with less resources and that will require strategy.

Communicate effectively – In a day where information is at everyone’s fingertips, and the quantity of information is overwhelming for all of us, the most effective leaders will be skilled communicators. They will be able to filter us through the mass of information to the most important information in the context of achieving our vision.

Stand firm – The successful leader will be able to guide a group of people towards a well-defined, easy to understand, worthy vision…in spite of hardships, setbacks and disappointments. As fast as change is changing, there must be some things which are consistent, which can grab and keep people’s heart and energy long term. Otherwise, we will see no real progress. That means effective leaders can’t get distracted with things that in the end won’t even matter. (Of course, for me, my constant guiding vision is the Gospel.)

That’s my answer of what it takes to be effective in leadership today. How is that different from years past? Is it?

How would you answer the question?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Mike says:

    A very good answer to all question, God demands us to be perfect: 1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, we need to be complete or mature in our thinking. God demands this maturity. If all the 7 points were given to leaders of a church and lived in them, then the church will grow and be perfect. James 1:2-4 … And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. The question "would I join a perfect church" . People say there is not such a thing! Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; a church itself with leaders that live and do the above 7 leadership answers can bring many a sinner home to a perfect place where everyone can learn from there leaders.

  • fertileground says:

    What does a leader do? The answer's in the word leader and leadership. A leader leads. He /she usually has the vision, then try to bring it to pass. Sometimes they're radical, they step out, they may fall, yet though God's Grace, they stand up. Sometimes they are controversial, yet they keep the vision.
    We find different types or styles of leadership. Each leader is, & can be uniquely original

  • Paul says:

    Wow! Very deep and interesting. Especially the first point. A leader must always be one step ahead. Please check out this book as well on leadership by Dag Heward Mills-

  • Kmac4him

    Effective leaders shatter the darkness that keeps people isolated from one another, causing us all to truly see each other. People can’t follow if they are isolated and can’t see one another. Break down the walls of comparison, difference is good! Instead of having a “contemporary service” and creating silos, why not have one service and let people experience all kinds of music. No one should be invisible! Encourage interaction outside of your comfort zone. Churches set up their small groups by comfort zones. Time to break down that structure, there are too many people being isolated by it. I go to my small group because I like red and so does everyone else. What if we “break out” of our comfort zones for a six month period and jumble everything up! A small group experiment! Everyone who wants to meet someone different, sign up and let your small group be randomly chosen. Have a month where you Flip-Flop everything, break down the structure. Like the youth always serving a spaghetti dinner to the adults, why not the senior adults serve the youth one night? As long as we have isolated and invisible people are we truly leading everyone? Is your church divided in heart toward each other? Have silos been created for comfort? Then you have invisible people. Just sayin, isolation is a huge barrier for followship and effective leaders have to find a way to tear down the walls, not build them up higher. Difference is good! Comfort zones should not be allowed in the church, we are the Body of Christ, beautifully different!