Everything You Need to Know About Effective Leadership

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective leadership is essential to achieving success in any business. There are different leadership styles and principles to follow based on the size of the company, workplace culture and types of employees. Leadership is a skill that requires dedication and practice to develop. In this article, we discuss what effective leadership is, why it is important and the characteristics of an effective leader.

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles

Why is effective leadership important?

Successful organizations have effective leaders that understand the importance of their role and the influence they can have on others. Here are some reasons why effective leadership is important:

  • Effective leadership empowers employees.

  • Effective leadership promotes a strong work ethic.

  • Effective leadership builds trust.

  • Effective leadership increases motivation.

Effective leadership empowers employees

Effective leaders understand how important it is to empower others. A strong leader enables and empowers others to do the best that they can. They encourage the workforce to grow and develop and enjoy seeing these people advance and take pride in their careers.

Effective leadership promotes a strong work ethic

They also gain credit by having strong ethics and being a good role model for others. When an effective leader shows how vital the company standards are and adheres to them personally, the staff are more likely to follow the example. Employees feel that they can trust someone who works under the same rules and regulations as they expect others to do.

Effective leadership builds trust

The most effective leaders are trusted by their employees. The workforce will follow them and have faith in their leadership. Employees should also be trusted to have greater accountability and more authority. When people feel that their leader has confidence in them, they are more dedicated to their work and want the company to succeed.

Leadership that builds a trusting environment in the workforce leads to employees who are satisfied in their work, committed to their employer, less stressed and perform better in their duties. When employees are happy, they stay with the business, saving the company money and fostering an environment of positivity toward the company and the leaders.

Effective leadership increases motivation

An important factor in leadership is keeping team members motivated. An effective leader ensures that the workforce is motivated and focused on the company vision by using honest and forthright communication to address any concerns. They can identify the needs and resources that teams need in order to succeed. A strong leader inspires, motivates and directs for the good of everyone in the organization.

Related: 10 Ways to Build Effective Leadership Behaviors

Characteristics of an effective leader

Effective leaders may have different styles of leadership and varying values, but the following characteristics are common to most strong leaders:

  • Communication

  • Courage

  • Caring

  • Optimism

  • Self-control

  • Vision


Great communication skills can make a more effective and personable leader. You should have excellent written, verbal and even non-verbal communication skills to lead a workforce. You need to write reports, give presentations and give clear instructions.

Effective leaders know how to listen. You can find out new information when you listen and not just repeat things you already know. Your team members feel valued when you listen and process what they are saying. In listening, you are also creating an emotional understanding between you and the speaker.

You must be able to communicate effectively to understand how plans are taking form, to gain clarification and to comprehend the attitudes of your team members. Great leaders know when they should talk and when it is time to listen.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples


A leader should have great moral courage to face criticism and defend your vision. When you have moral courage, you demonstrate that you are beyond fear, you believe in yourself and you are willing to take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your employees. When you stay courageous and take responsibility, your team members are more likely to stay engaged. Courage can help you remained focused on your vision as well.


When you are genuinely concerned about the well-being of others, this shows that you care for them. Employees are much more likely to be motivated and supportive of a company vision if they feel that a leader has a real interest in their welfare.

Being caring means that a leader still expects optimal performance from their staff. A leader should encourage good performance and attitudes and ensure that policies and standards are adhered to under all circumstances.


When a leader is optimistic, they are able to see possibilities or opportunities in every situation. It is essential that leaders are positive and encourage employees to accomplish goals with the right attitude. The best leaders are able to pass on their optimistic approach to the workforce, so everyone believes in a positive outcome with the right amount of work and dedication.


Since your team members look to you to lead by example, you must be able to exercise self-control and discipline and show that you accept the consequences of any actions you take. You must think before you make choices because it is important to consider the interests of all your team members. Self-control shows that you drive toward success and have a clear vision that you want others to follow.


An effective leader should be able to create clear and beneficial goals that they can achieve in the future. They need to be able to use their vision to see what can realistically be achieved, then use their confidence to motivate others to believe in the vision. You must have the flexibility to use creative work styles and incorporate change into your plans without losing sight of the goal. You should also consider how plans can evolve, but remain focused. Learn lessons from approaches that have not been previously successful.

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