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10 Principles of Effective and Authentic Leadership

08/18/2014 11:10 am ET | Updated Feb 27, 2015
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There is a great amount of definitions and theories about effective leadership. Each leader chooses their unique formula of success, but still there are keys to authentic leadership that can't be ignored. Below are 10 important principles each leader should know.

1. Leadership Is Behavior, Not Position
Leaders are the ones who take responsibility for making decisions and bringing change. Leaders are the ones who empower people to discover and use their greatest potential. The executive position on someone's visit card won't do all of these. People are the ones to choose their leader. And how will they do that? They will judge by behavior, attitude and actions. If you want to be a leader, then act like a leader and shape a better reality.

2. The Best Way of Influence Is Setting an Example
Each leader wants to get the best out of their team. Excellence orientation is great, as there is always need for development. But here is the simple truth. Instead of telling your team members what to do, show it to them by your own example. They are following you each and every moment. Practice what you preach, and the results will astonish you. Especially during hard times, when chances to give up are very big, you should be the one who faces obstacles with confidence and determination towards success. Be sure, that they will do the same and stand by your side.

3. Leading Means Making an Impact
Think about the greatest leaders in history. What was the one thing they had in common? Yes, they all made an impact. Leadership is not just setting goals and effectively achieving them with your team. Leadership is not just brilliant public speaking and great communication skills. If you want to be an authentic leader, you should have your unique contribution to the welfare of the society. You should make a positive change.

4. Leadership is Chasing Vision, Not Money
Without a vision, your activities are meaningless. Each person can be very busy implementing various tasks, but the key is devoting your efforts and time to the realization of your vision. Vision is what inspires people to take action and go forward. Discover your unique vision and coordinate all your activities towards it. Inspire each and every member of your team with that vision.

5. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
It's not a secret that much talking and less acting has nothing to do with effectiveness. What people see affects them many times greater than what they hear. So, choose actions. Don't waste your and other people's time on endless conversations about your plans. Just realize that plans and be sure that everyone will see it.

6. Flexibility May Refer to Behavior, Not Values
Depending on circumstances you may choose a different style of leadership or communication. Flexibility is a truly effective trait, if it doesn't affect your values. Each and every decision of yours, no matter the situation, must be based on your value system. As long as your actions are value-driven, you will have the trust and respect of people around you.

7. Leadership is All About People
Could you be a leader in an empty room by having profound goals and skills? Of course, not. Leading means communicating, influencing and engaging. Communication skills are the foundation of effective leadership. Constantly improve your relationships with people, and the amazing results won't make you wait.

8. It Is Fine To Admit Mistakes
If everything has always been done perfectly, we would have somehow lost the ability to analyze and improve. Mistakes are proof that you are doing something. You won't become a worse leader if you admit your mistakes. By doing that, you will show that you are wise enough to learn from your each and every experience.

9. Unity Is Strength
Team is somehow the most important resource for each leader. Embrace your team and devote your energy to care about its unity each and every day. As long as your team is splendid, nothing can stay on your way to success. Make sure that all people in your team consider themselves as members of a strong, unified family.

10. There Is Always Room for Growth
Remember, satisfaction should be a short-term feeling. Life would become useless without ongoing improvement. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't appreciate what you have. This means that you should be thankful for everything you have achieved, but still try to do a little more for this world.