Blog » How to be an effective, not a defective leader

How to be an effective, not a defective leader

17th September 2013

Spring is traditionally the time of year for new starts and fresh thinking.

But with the present economic situation that may be easier said that done – you might be one of those who are out of work, or maybe one of those fortunate enough to be in a job, but fearing cuts in salaries and other benefits.

In a time of uncertainty what is sure is that we are all living in an imperfect world and all can claim to have been wronged or not deserved the treatment we received. But to harbour such feelings, even bitterness, only serves to feed destructive emotions and sap our energies.

It also results in our continually looking backwards not forwards. You see you cannot make progress when you are facing the wrong way. It is only when you focus on the future that you can move ahead with a real sense of purpose.

Now don’t get me wrong, this attitude does not mean that you ‘over look’ the wrongs and failures of the past. It’s stronger than this. It means that you have ‘chosen’ to put them behind you and are in control of your attitudes and future actions. If you can do this will, then it will increase your energy, build your potential, develop leadership potential and I am sure improve the prospect of recapturing lost ground.

If you choose to ‘do onto others as you would they do onto you’ I have found that this can affect your attitudes and you begin to approach your fears more positively. For example why not learn from successful leaders as they are expert in:

1. Thanking others: It’s easy to take the efforts of others for granted, when a word of appreciation can, not only build their self-esteem, but also enhance the relationship. This is all the more rewarding if is done in front of their colleagues. As someone once said: “It’s hard for a person to keep a chip on his shoulder if you allow him to take a bow.” It works.

2. Trusting others: With the emphasis now on effective teamwork, trust takes on new meaning, and the only way to make someone more trust worthy is to trust them. This is not easy, particularly if you don’t know them well but you will have to take risks and be prepared to place confidence in them. Remember the person who trusts others will always lose less than the person who distrusts them.

3. Practising empathy towards others: This means that you place yourself in the other person’s shoes before you react to the awkward situation or make those demands that are sure to put them under added pressure. This is not hard to do but when it is well done it is one of the differences between effective and ineffective team leaders.

4. Following a ‘win-win’ policy to others: I know the sporting analogy is to beat the opposing team but as team leader in a business environment the application in the office or on the shop floor is somewhat different. I have met managers who firmly believe that the only way to show strong leadership is for them to win and others to lose. How crazy this is?
There is no loser if you treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. Both will win.

A few years ago I came across the following statistics in relation to worrying which showed:
40% of what we worry about never happens
30% of what we worry about has already happened.
12% of what we worry about focuses on opinions or situations we cannot change.
10% of what we worry about worsens our health, and only
8% of what we worry about concerns problems that we can actually influence.

While this suggests that some 92% of our concerns and worries are needless and that you can only influence some 8% then surely now is as good a time as any to try and put things into perspective.

So when quitting looks good, defeat looks inescapable and retreat is the only options why not be courageous and practise the suggestions above?


Gerry Gilpin is the Managing Partner in Gilpin Executive Search and Development, one of Northern Ireland’s leading independent consultancy practices assisting clients align their people to their corporate goals. To contact us visit or Tel: 028 9076 9900

Back to Top