4 Steps for Effective Leaders

“Most businesses think that product is the most important thing, but without great leadership, mission and a team that deliver results at a high level, even the best product won’t make a company successful.” Robert Kiyosaki

Leaders come from all walks of life, each with their own strengths and experiences. No matter how different, each has at least one thing in common – the ability to grow and mature as a leader.

Leadership development at all levels in organizations should drive effectiveness, agility, and strategy execution, now and in the future. Based on our four decades of work with business leaders in hundreds of organizations across the globe, we have developed four specific targets of focus:

  • Direction and Alignment
  • Commitment and Capability
  • Execution and Performance
  • Personal Mastery


We refer to these four areas of excellence as the Work of Leaders model. This model can be applied to multi-level leaders across a number of organizations to help build a better leader, which in turn builds a more efficient organization.

Let’s look at each area more closely.

Personal Mastery

Leaders must know and manage their strengths and their weaknesses, and demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and a high degree of emotional intelligence. Moreover, highly successful leaders communicate effectively with a wide range of stakeholders, continuously test and learn from their own assumptions, and have the adaptability and agility to handle the pace and stress today’s work world puts in their paths.

Direction and Alignment

Leaders must continuously stay in front of changes in the business environment, setting direction and quickly aligning the organization with that direction. They must synchronously and constantly adapt and change.

Commitment and Capability

Most organizations today compete on knowledge. This means the only way to build commitment and capability in their people is to engage employees in three ways: heads, hands and hearts. Leaders must create work environments that engage, encourage a sense of ownership, and accelerate learning and development. Today’s leaders are more involved than ever in teaching, coaching and creating growth opportunities for people in order to build a workforce that is a source of competitive advantage.

Execution and Performance

Effective execution is a matter of balancing short-term expectations with long-term business sustainability. Research shows that leaders more often than not execute poorly because they fail to focus on creating clarity about the strategy and building unity around what it means for people. Additionally, they often do not understand that effective execution requires agile, continuous course correction.

These focus areas play out differently for different leadership levels. To be effective, leaders must expand and deepen their focus in each of these areas as they move up the ranks. By focusing on these guidelines, leaders at all levels can continue excelling and growing throughout their careers.

To learn more about leadership development, check out these blog posts:

Closing the Leadership Performance Gap: A New Answer to a Persistent Problem

Leadership Lessons from the Locker Room

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