Leadership in today’s changing society, requires adaptability and the willingness to grow professionally, if one is to remain relevant and effective as a leader. By effective I mean directing, motivating and enabling others to accomplish the desired mission or goals, of the organization. This efficiency in leadership can be developed by adapting the following five principles in becoming an effective leader.

1. Develop professional competence

Learning for an effective leader is life-long. Pursuing self-improvement has to be a way of life if he/she is to remain effective in an ever changing world. This means the leader has to invest in his/her personal and professional growth. This includes, reading widely, keeping current and up to date and engaging in self-care, which means taking care of one’s mental, emotional and physical state, on an ongoing basis.

2. Define and clarify the mission.

A mission statement defines what an organization is and why it exists. The leader should be clear on the organization’s “why” and ensure it is communicated to his team with clarity. So, what’s your mission or the specific task(s) that you would like your team or group to accomplish? Once you have decided on the mission, your next step is to make it tangible through goal settings, with the appropriate strategies identified, in accomplishing them. In other words, create clarity, by asking, “where do I want to go (Goal) and how do I plan to get there (Strategy)?

3. Develop and empower others

A visionary leader will always seek to develop others around him or her. Hence if you are going to be an effective leader, you have to empower others and be mindful that in doing so, they will make mistakes. Give them responsibility or tasks to preform without micromanaging. Be clear however, on their job description and teach them by example how to deal with failure and how to handle challenges when they arise. In addition, develop a mentoring culture – a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective, to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else.

4. Value your subordinates

As a leader, you must value your subordinates. In some leadership circles, leaders say that their customers come first. For an effective leader, his team comes first, because he knows if his team is happy, his customers will be happy as well. Hence, treat subordinates fairly. Respond to their concerns and represent their interest. Be interested in their well-being, keep your word and all your promises and never lie to those you lead. If you do, it will diminish your integrity and sabotage your ability to lead effectively.

5. Uphold professional norms

Maintaining order and discipline, is key to upholding professional standards in any organization. This is because upholding company norms, helps to heighten morale (esprit de corps) – the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others. Why is moral so important? It is important because, when morale is low turnover is usually high. Furthermore, a high turnover creates low performance and consequently, negatively impacts a company’s bottom line.