Becoming an Effective Leader: 6 Traits to Master

Corinna Hagen
11 min readMar 13, 2023

When Sarah started her career as a Business Analyst, she always dreamed of being a leader. So when she was given the opportunity to lead her first team six years later, she was thrilled. But as she soon discovered, effective leadership wasn’t as easy as it looked. Sarah was faced with the challenge of motivating and inspiring her team, while also ensuring that their work aligned with the company’s overall goals. She struggled to find the right balance between being directive and collaborative and often felt like she was in over her head.

Sarah’s experience highlights the critical importance of effective leadership, particularly for emerging leaders. It’s not enough to simply be ambitious and hardworking; leadership requires a specific set of skills and strategies to be successful. In this article, we’ll explore the key components of effective leadership and offer practical advice for emerging leaders to develop these skills and succeed in their roles.

What is Effective Leadership?

Let’s talk first about why the topic of effective leadership comes up in the first place. The reason this is a widely discussed topic (and I am by far and large not the first to write about it), is that many leaders care about the impact of their work and how they lead. It’s not just leadership for the sake of having a title or being in charge, but rather a desire to do something meaningful and get results.

To be effective in leadership, you will need to apply a combination of skills and traits. At a high level, effective leadership can be divided into people leadership skills, strategic leadership skills, and operational leadership skills.

People Leadership Skills involve your ability to build and manage relationships and to motivate and inspire a team. This includes fostering a sense of trust and collaboration, communicating effectively, creating an open feedback loop, and encouraging individual growth as you develop and nurture the talent on your team.

Strategic Leadership Skills aid you in ensuring that all organizational activities are aligned with the company’s overall goals. This includes setting a vision for the team and organization, making strategic decisions, regularly evaluating performance, and steering…

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Corinna Hagen

Founder of Zaradigm.com, an executive communication firm. I write about leadership and business communication 1 x month in the “Leading Choices” newsletter.