Four Tips on Becoming an Effective Leader

Whether you’re the big boss at work or the head of the family at home, it’s important for you to have authority and confidence. Leading isn’t just about getting to success, it’s about finding the best ways to get there and knowing how to utilize your team. As the owner and CEO of a drug rehabilitation center, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to truly inspire people and work together toward progress. Here are a few tips on becoming an effective leader at work, at home, or in life:


I know, it’s not really a life-altering idea. But honestly, poor communication has been at the root of almost every argument I’ve ever heard. Be clear about what goals everyone should be working toward, what you expect, and when you expect it. If you need extra help with something, don’t expect others to know on their own, just ask. Try to choose wisely—if you’re working on a marketing presentation and you know that Laura is a strong presenter, ask her first. And don’t just tell her you need help, tell her why you need her help. A simple, “I’ve noticed that you give consistently excellent presentations, so I was hoping you could help me with this one.”

Talk to your team about their roles and whether or not they think there could be any beneficial changes. Make sure all ideas are heard. Even if you can’t accommodate every request, it’s important for you to hear them out and let them know that you want them to be happy.

Be Flexible

Consider feedback carefully, and don’t let yourself be put off by an idea simply because it’s different. If a system isn’t working well and someone has a valid way to potentially fix it, try it. Just because something has been done one way for so long doesn’t mean it hasn’t become outdated. Technology is advancing practically by the day, so updates to the way we do business and live life may have opportunity to improve with a few alterations. It could mean changing up project delegation in the office or agreeing to let your child text you instead of calling after school. If the new way ultimately doesn’t work, you probably still learned something from a new angle.

Show appreciation and recognition

Informal recognition is highly underrated. Whether it’s your son’s honor roll report card or your subordinate’s major sale, don’t let it go by unnoticed! A simple pat on the back to a coworker can keep up motivation and even increase productivity. And letting your children know that you recognize their hard work in school, or even letting your spouse know how much they’re appreciated, can really show your care and support.

Maintain work-life balance

It’s a common misconception that you must give up your personal life if you want to be truly successful in the workplace. But if you ask me, success in life is about more than business. Is it really worth missing a summer vacation with your children to go to stay behind and work? Even if you get a bonus for unused vacation time, is it worth the time you could have spent taking that trip to Seattle like you’ve always wanted to do? Is it worth the long weekend you could have spent relaxing at home? You can’t think clearly if your mind never gets the chance to rest, and breaks can actually help you work better.

On the other end, focus on work while you’re at work. Limit your personal phone activity and Facebook cruising—it’s better to keep things separate, so don’t let yourself get distracted (outside of emergencies, of course). Staying focused will not only make you more productive, it will give your mind a break from thinking about personal issues and may give you a fresh perspective later.

If you can keep the lines of communication open, you can overcome just about anything. Don’t just lead your team—be a member of it, too.

Written by Per Wickstrom