What is Effective Business Leadership and Why is it Important?

Being an effective leader is critical in any leadership role. Being an effective business leader is foundational to the success of your business! Without effective leaders, your business will never reach its full potential!

I have seen all kinds of business leaders over the years; destructive, bad, subpar, average, good, excellent, nurturing, multiplying, etc.. In each case, the level of success of the business was directly reflected in the quality of the leader.

The destructive, bad, and subpar leaders have businesses that perform at these same levels and most eventually fail. Average leaders have average businesses while good, great, and excellent leaders create good, great, and excellent businesses! There may be cases where a business will perform above its level of leadership but this never lasts long. The level of business success always settles to the level of leadership effectiveness!

So what is effective leadership and how is it defined?

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of hearing criminal justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson speak on effective leadership. What follows is his perspective of effective leadership which applies to any leader, especially those of us in business leadership roles.

Effective Business Leadership

According to Bryan Stevenson, effective leaders must:

  1. Get into contact with the people they are leading
    • Get close to the people that you are leading
    • Leadership means proximity
    • Identify with the issues of those we are trying to lead!
  2. Change the sustaining narratives that fuel how we think
    • Don’t be driven by fear and anger. Fear and anger destroy countries, communities, people, businesses, etc.
    • Understand the sustaining narrative of the culture – racial tensions, poverty, affluence, etc.
    • Leaders must first understand the sustaining narratives and then work to form new, productive, and healthy narratives
  3. Stay hopeful
    • Hopelessness is the enemy of justice
    • Fight against hopelessness
    • There are either hopeful leaders or people in leadership positions who are not leading
    • It takes courage to stay hopeful
  4. Be willing to do uncomfortable things
    • Leaders must chose to do uncomfortable things
    • Leaders need to lead and this means stepping into uncomfortable situations and leading the organization out of the situation into something better

Take Action

So, where is your leadership effectiveness at? Take a few minutes and do a honest evaluation and rate your leadership effectiveness on a 1 to 10 scale. Better yet, do an informal 360 evaluation and have your direct reports, peers, and stakeholders rank your leadership effectiveness.

What actions do you need to take from this evaluation and feedback to increase your effectiveness as a leader and to raise the bar in your business?

Finally, take a look at these related articles for more information:


The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” John Buchan


What is your experience with effective business leadershio? Leave your comments below!

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