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10 Principles to Ace Your Leadership Style

Navigating the complex world of leadership has been a journey of constant learning and growth for me. Leadership isn't just about managing tasks; it's an art that involves inspiring and guiding a team towards a shared vision. In this post, l will delve into what I believe are the 10 key principles and strategies that make leadership truly effective, so you can ace your style and be a great leader.

10 Principles to ace your leadership style - LadyShayo

What is the Essence of Leadership

Leadership goes beyond fancy job titles, and creative positions, (and believe me, I have met some very dynamic HR managers who know how to craft innovative job titles and positions into the organogram!). Rather, it's about fostering growth in my team, steering them towards success, and creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

10 Core Principles that Define Effective Leadership

1. Vision and Purpose

I've always believed in being a visionary leader. If your team can see the successful destination, then the job is half done. I was watching one of those game shows recently and the participants had been divided into teams and were asked to execute a very difficult and strength draining task, but when they saw that they were almost at the destination, their strength and motivation were resuscitated, and that gave them the last push to get to the finish line. That’s what you need to do with your team as a leader, enable them to see the finish line to keep everybody motivated to successfully carry out their respective roles. Your ability to Craft a compelling vision that motivates your team and gives them a common purpose should be been at the heart of your leadership style.

2. Communication Skills

Effective communication forms the bedrock of exceptional leadership. Failing to convey your thoughts to the team in a manner that ensures not only understanding but also aligns with your intended interpretation will inevitably lead to failure. Think of great communication as the adhesive that unites the team, encompassing a 360-degree approach – from top-down and bottom-up to the horizontal plane.

An integral part of communication lies in active listening. It goes beyond merely hearing what IS said; it's about tuning in to the unspoken nuances. The ability to discern what is NOT SAID is paramount.

Equally crucial is cultivating an environment where your team feels empowered to voice their opinions, ideas, observations, thoughts, and insights. Even when their input isn't directly implemented, offering constructive feedback on why certain advice wasn't actioned is invaluable. This not only assures team members that their voices are heard but also serves as a catalyst for ongoing engagement.

Business team members celebrating

3. Emotional Intelligence

How often have you been frustrated with a team member for dropping the ball only to discover there were underlying emotional struggles impacting their thought process and ultimately productivity? A great leader should demonstrate empathy and possess the ability to discern conflict. Many organizations have crumbled due to internal disagreements, and unfortunately when two elephants fight it’s the grass, in this case the client that gets hurt.  The internal discord within many organizations has proven detrimental, and as the saying goes, when two elephants fight, it's the grass – or in this case, the client – that suffers. Grasping and handling emotions, empathizing, and adeptly navigating relationships all play pivotal roles.

4. Decision-Making

One of the key roles of a leader is to make decisions, and in most cases those decisions are based on information provided by your team. No matter the insights, ideas, information or recommendations, at the end of the day – it's your call. How well do you trust your team to do their jobs excellently well to provide the right support, because remember, when you are successful, the team takes the glory, when you fail, it's you who takes the fall.


5. Adaptability

How agile are you, how fast can you and your team quickly respond to change? Embracing change, staying agile, and encouraging a culture of continuous learning are vital strategies to stay afloat in a continuously transforming landscape. The ability to pivot and evolve is not just a strategy; it's the very heartbeat of navigating the ever-dynamic business terrain.


6. Lead by Example

John Maxwell said – “A leader knows the way, shows the way and goes the way”. How much are you willing to show? Actions speak louder than words. People respond better to what they see you do, not just what they hear you say. You need to lead by example, set the standard and others will willingly follow.


7. Collaboration

I'm certain you've heard the age-old adage – "no man is an island." Indeed, accomplishing tasks requires a collective effort, yet the most fruitful teams are those tightly knit. Teamwork is the bedrock of success. Creating a work atmosphere where varied perspectives aren't only appreciated but promoted should be deliberate. It's about fostering a collaborative environment where the strength lies in the unity of diverse voices, contributing to a culture where teamwork isn't just a concept but a celebrated reality.

8. Feedback and Recognition

Regular feedback, both constructive and positive, is a must. Recognizing achievements and offering guidance for improvement will contribute to the growth of the team. Take the time to celebrate successes and acknowledge commendable efforts. Strive to be a leader who doesn't solely focus on shortcomings. Generally, individuals respond more favourably to praise than criticism. Communicate positively, express confidence in your members, and afford them the autonomy to operate independently, don’t micromanage.


9. Professional Development

Train and develop your team – training should not be an option, it should be a priority, equip people with the right skills to deliver excellent work. And development is not just for team members, you as the leader also need to invest in your own personal and professional development. Grow alongside your team.


10. Build a Positive Culture

Nurturing a positive workplace culture is paramount. Foster an environment steeped in trust, enthusiasm, and growth, ensuring every individual feels genuinely valued.


Wrapping Up: The Ongoing Leadership Journey

We have had a brief look at 10 key principles of effective leadership, and if you commit to applying them, I am certain that you will develop the capacity and competency of a great leader. Effective leadership is an ever-evolving journey. It's a commitment to personal growth, and an understanding of your team and a dedication to personal growth.

Whether you're a seasoned leader or just stepping into your role for the first time, the keys to being effective are within reach. Continue to inspire, innovate, and lead with a commitment to be excellent. Here's to unlocking success and fostering a future where impactful leadership is not just a goal but a shared reality.


Written by Lady Shayo Imologome FSM, FCA, MBA

Business Growth Strategist, Management Consultant, and Keynote Speaker

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