We humans need to learn many skills to be able to function most productively in different situations. Learning to be a good and effective leader is one of these skills that can be beneficial both at home while raising children and in the work environment, whether a teacher, a director or a manager. To be a good leader means you can bring your authority out and look at the situation objectively and rationally to see how you want to deal with the issue at hand, and in a way that is proficient to both individuals involved and the system they are a part of. Because if you pay too much attention to one and not the other, then disorder happens.
A good leader, whether a parent, director or a manager:
1. Knows how to calm down: You have to learn to calm yourself down even in the midst of a seemingly chaotic situation. This means taking a break from the situation and using tools like meditation, relaxation, going for a walk, exercise or whatever tool works for you to get your emotions in check and to not overreact. Also, to look at the situation from outside and objectively to see what the best option for dealing with it is. This means you cannot act impulsively, cannot react emotionally and need to do a delayed response and cost benefit analysis for the best option when responding.
2. Communicates effectively: You have to be able to have clear and fair rules and communicate them in a concise, up to the point, straightforward and clear manner so everyone involved knows what is expected of them and how to go about getting the goals accomplished. Communication in an assertive, calm, rational, respectful and confident manner is a must for a good leader.
3. Has reasonable expectations: A good leader brings about goals that are in accord with the individuals' capability, including strengths and weaknesses, while encouraging individuals to work on becoming fully functioning.
4. Challenges people in moderation: A good leader learns and implements ways to challenge people to become motivated to move forward in life.
5. Does not spoil: This mostly applies to parents where they do not act in a way that would blemish their children up to a point where they lose their sense of appreciation, motivation and empathy toward others. This could happen where children get too much for too little work and do not feel like there are reasonable consequences for their behaviors.
6. Lets individual work out their own problems: A good leader gives individuals a chance to work out their own problems and will moderately support them when needed. This also depends on the situation. For example, for parents, this depends on the child's age and capabilities.
7. Is a good listener: A good leader is an empathetic listener, meaning he listens to the individual compassionately and tries to help the situation realistically and logically rather than idealistically and emotionally.
8. Has a sense of humor and is level-headed: A good leader knows when to have structure and when to be flexible even with that structure. In other words, he is not fixated and can adjust and knows when it's time to bend a little and when it's time to be firm. He also knows when not to take things too seriously.
To be an effective leader in any situation one needs to work on having a sense of integrity, compassion, rationality, honesty and understanding. Learning to have an internal sense of inner calm and balance is also a characteristic that anyone wanting to be a good leader, whether at home or at work, must focus on.
Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD
Self Knowledge Base & Foundation
A nonprofit dedicated to public education