Steps to become an effective leader

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Posted by: JasmineThompson
Posted on: 18/04/2023

By actor and change maker David Chabeaux


According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of leadership is ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organisation’.

But what does it mean to be a leader?

How do you do it really effectively, especially when there are loads of different “styles” of leadership in the world to pick from?

And I mean LOADS.

Authoritative leader. Coercive leader. Democratic leader. Dictatorial leader. Coaching leader. Troubleshooting leader. Affiliative leader. Visionary leader. Transactional leader. Transformational leader. Bureaucratic leader (I could go on, but I won’t, because (a) that would be really boring and (b) I’ve still got the new season of Ted Lasso to watch, so…)

There are also loads of books on leadership. By some pretty amazing people. And I’d very much recommend you go read some of them and learn about, and draw from, some of their excellent approaches and elements. Of which there are many.

Yet whether you’re a “troubleshooting” leader wanting to be a “visionary” one, a “collaborative” leader needing to be a “coaching” one, or maybe a tub-thumping “dictatorial” leader who fancies knowing how to win over everyone with a flash of some “charismatic” leader charm (good luck with that!), there are some fundamental attitudes and behaviours you can adopt which, in my experience, are essential in making a highly effective, well-rounded leader, whichever “style” you choose.

A leader that people will follow.

The great news is that you can start practicing these attitudes and behaviours today. And when you do, just watch your influence as a leader expand…..

Cultivate trust

Whatever style or type of leader you are – or want to become – if people don’t trust you, forget it.

It’s as simple as that.

Trust enables decisions, strategies, relationships, actions, communications and cultures, and results to flow easier and more effectively than anything else.

As Stephen MR Covey says in his book The Speed Of Trust, “trust is the one thing that changes everything”.

Ignite purpose

As a leader, if you ask (or tell) someone to do something, they’ll do it. Or not. Yet if you ask them to do something and explain why you’ve asked them to do it, people start to react differently.

The “why” is driven by purpose. And once people understand the purpose, the reason why they are doing what they do – and how what they are doing will make a difference to something bigger than just themselves and the task – people start to play differently.

And that’s when, as a leader, people will start to follow you (and without the need for blue warpaint thanks, Mel Gibson…)

Empower process

“After all is said and done, more is said than done” said the Greek Philosopher Aesop. Bravo Aesop. Absolutely right. Not bad for a 2,000 year-old dude.

As humans, we are great at talking the talk. But can we walk the walk?

Think about it…as a leader, it’s fairly easy to write a sexy strategy (so it should be, it’s taught often enough in business schools the world over) and if we look at it through old Aesop’s lens, our strategies are how we theorise about what we’re going to do. It’s us “talking the talk”.

And yet, the ability of a leader to act on – and inspire others to act on – the execution of that strategy, is critical. And far harder to do (and, as such, taught far less).

This is the bit where, as leaders, you have to “walk your talk”. To do that, you need to create systems and processes that empower both you and those you lead, so that everyone:

(i) knows what to do, how to do it (and why),

(ii) feels they have permission to use their best talents towards doing it (and are trusted to do it)

(iii) do it consistently and with excellence.


Generation Next welcomed David to speak at a webinar in April focusing on “how to become an effective leader”. For more Generation Next networking events and skills-based webinars, visit

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