How to Increase Your Leadership Effectiveness: 3 Priority Attitudes

February 21, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

How good can you be as a leader? Scientists estimate that the average human being uses less than 10% of his or her potential. Unfortunately, too many supervisors use excuses like:

  • I don’t have time
  • Upper management doesn’t support me
  • Employees don’t care
  • Unions are too combative
  • Customers don’t understand
  • I tried

On and on the whine list goes and these supervisors or managers forget to do what President Harry S. Truman said, “The buck stops here.” When you are a leader, you are accountable and responsible. While there are obstacles, and some are very difficult, are these obstacles that hard, really? Model these attitudes to succeed.


Cliff Miedl was a 20-year-old plumber’s apprentice. While working on a job, he accidentally drove his jack-hammer through three high-voltage cables. His body instantly received 30,000 volts of electricity. That’s fifteen time the amount people receive in the electric chair. The jolt blew off most his toes, shattered his knees, exploded part of his skull, and put a hole in his back as the electricity left his body. His heart stopped beating three times, yet he survived. Doctors said he’d never walk again.

Through a slow and painful recovery, he learned to walk again. Not only that, he was inspired by 1988 Kayak Olympian Greg Barton (who had club feet) who won two gold medals in Seoul, so he learned how to kayak. He became good at it and made the US Olympic team. On opening night of the 2000 Sydney Games, the 603 members of the team voted him the flag bearer for their march into the stadium. Cliff turned a tragedy into a triumph.

Receiving 30,000 volts of electricity is hard. The road back is hard. Absent employees or management policy changes can be difficult to deal with but not hard compared to Cliff’s ordeal. So always believe in the potential-what you can do or control. Don’t waste time on what you can’t do or can’t control.


Leader’s are the single biggest influence on employees’ performance according to Gallup Poll research. Wow! What an opportunity to make a difference. Too many supervisors give up, negatively react, or let events push them around. By taking action, you get things done.

A sports magazine recently ran a brief article about a man in the Guinness Book of World Records for running 90 marathons in one year. In honor of the new millennium, he’s ran 200 in 2000! When asked why, he replied he didn’t want anyone to break his record, and he knew he could do it. What an attitude, and he acted on it! You don’t need to run marathons unless you want to. As a leader, with the right actions-communication, goal setting, recognition, coaching, and problem solving-you can motivate people towards superb results.


It’s been said, “All great achievers are great planners.” You have to have a plan and then adjust the plan as needed. Scientists say the difference between a human being and a gorilla in terms of DNA is 2.8%. It’s not much, but it matters. The key ingredient there is humans’ ability to think.

Recently, the media has had numerous articles about results of the Human Genome Project. This was the effort to identify the human DNA map cell by cell all 20,000 of them. The significance of this evidence is that it changes medicine from a reactive discipline to a proactive one. Literally, scientists will be able to predict if a baby will have a predisposition for disease before it is born. Then, doctors could switch the cells to be preventive. While there are many ethical concerns to debate about this, the fact remains that human intellect has discovered the technology to do this.

You have that intellect to. Think! Thinking is a key part of a manager’s job. Then work with employees to achieve the goal. Never underestimate the ability of people to excel or your ability to succeed. With these three attitudes you are more likely to inspire high performance in your team. That’s an important part of a leader’s ultimate effectiveness.

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Rick Conlow is CEO with WCW Partners, a management consulting and training firm. Rick has helped organizations increase sales 218%, improve repeat and referral business by 20%, increase customer retention to 99%, reduce complaints by 60% and achieve 34 quality awards. You can reach Rick at: or 888-313-0514.

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