Four Promises of Effective Leaders

Have you ever wondered — what makes a leader stand out as remarkably effective? Being a Strengths Leadership Coach, I am always curious about that question. I observe, I listen, I study and I ask a lot of questions, always seeking the answer to that question.

If you want to be a successful leader, being knowledgeable about and effectively applying your Strengths provides you with that extra edge. From the moment you take your first step into a leadership position the expectations are set into motion. Your awareness of what team members and followers want and need from you as a leader can ensure your leadership success.

This is part 1 in the 5-part series on Effective Leaders by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

Know your Strengths and apply them effectively. You’ll see powerful results. Click To Tweet

focus, key elements, Four Promises, create hope, build trust, provide stability, show compassion, effective leadership, perceptions, expectations, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, leadership coach

What makes a leader stand out as remarkably effective? Based on my studies and my observations throughout my work in organizations, effective leaders hone their attention to focus on key elements.

Everyone expects a lot from leaders — maybe more than is humanly possible. Leaders need to narrow their focus to a few key elements in order to engage their teams and drive business results. Failure to attend to a single promise will likely lead to disappointing outcomes.

There are countless studies, theories and books examining what makes for effective leadership. In this series I will focus on the Four Promises that consultants Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams delineate in Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results (Wiley, 2015):

Set the right direction and create meaningful work.
Engage all stakeholders and hold them accountable for performance.
Ensure that processes and systems facilitate focus and execution.
Lead effectively. Maintain trust to achieve and sustain desired results.

As a Strengths Based Leadership coach I use the StrengthsFinder with all of my coaching clients and find that if you know your Strengths and applying them effectively you’ll see powerful results. I believe the Four Promises align and support the Strengths research outlined in Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press, 2008), a book I recommend to leaders. Their research found that followers need their leaders to…

Create Hope
Build Trust
Provide Stability
Show Compassion


Defining Effective Leadership

Some experts believe the most effective leaders bring about maximum financial results. Others would point to charismatic, larger-than-life CEOs who inspire followers with vision. Still, others claim effective leaders have high levels of emotional intelligence, are skilled at making tough decisions, relentlessly focused on execution and excel at building trusting relationships. There is truth in all of these qualities.


Great Expectations

All of these leadership qualities matter a great deal. Yet, if you fail to manage people’s perceptions and expectations, it is difficult to be an effective leader. As Anderson and Adams explain:

“When we step into positions of leadership, we make a whole set of promises we may not know we are making. These promises are profound and come in the form of high, often unspoken, expectations. Understanding, managing and living up to these promises define our leadership.”

It’s one thing to identify what your team wants, needs or expects from you, and quite another for you to know yourself and your Strengths well enough to be a successful and inspirational leader. Both your spoken and unspoken messages are seen as a ‘promise’ and expectations of you, as a leader, are high.

From your experience, what key elements do you believe are required to be an effective leader? Where you work, which qualities are valued most in your leaders? What are your expectations of your leaders?

I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.


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