Effective Leaders Must Have These 3 Traits

It’s what you DON’T see that matters most.

Effective Leaders Must Have These 3 Traits

We’re all living and working in an increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing world.

Succeeding and excelling in today’s world requires you to consider certain traits to be effective. In order to thrive in a fast-changing world, effective leaders make and implement decisions, possess agility and include others in decision-making. Regardless of their respective industry, effective leaders make decisions and implement strategies to implement their decision.

Making and Implementing Decisions

The critical task of leadership is making decisions. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know the outcome of the decisions we make. Effective Leaders must decide where they’re going and how to get there.

Deciding where to go could be considered the vision. Having the plan to get there is the strategy. Once a leader decides where they’re going and how to get there the next critical task of leadership is implementation.

Ask yourself: What decision am I making and what’s my strategy to implement it?


The challenge of leadership is that we live in a “fast” and ever changing world. That means things happen quickly, and to survive, leaders have to get their organizations to react equally quickly—and effectively—when those things happen. The ability to react quickly is called agility, and the best leaders use their leadership skills to make their organizations agile.

Agility is about getting people to work together effectively. Great leadership is about using influence to get others to work together effectively. Leaders understand that people working together can achieve far beyond the reach of anyone working alone—but only if the leader can influence everyone to work well together.

An important difference between managers and leaders is that managers rely on their authority to get others to obey, while leaders use their influence to get others to buy into the leader’s vision. In addition to having agility, effective leaders practice inclusiveness.

Ask yourself: Is the organization I lead (or me) structured to react quickly to a changing world?


Inclusiveness is a key leadership skill that focuses on getting others involved. Effective leaders include others in the decision-making process. Inclusiveness helps manage information because everyone brings to the table their unique experiences, expertise and perspective.

Even the smartest person can’t know everything, so including others in making decisions usually means making more informed decisions. Including others in the decision-making process can mean learning information we didn’t know, and seeing things we might have missed.

Including others in making a decision also means others will understand the decision better, and probably better understand their role in implementing the decision. So inclusiveness not only provides the opportunity for more informed decisions—it also provides the opportunity for more informed implementation of those decisions.

Inclusiveness is a key leadership skill because it means more informed decisions, more informed implementation and decisions—and an organization—that the targets of implementation own, and therefore are more committed to and enthusiastic about supporting.

Ask yourself: Have I included others in the decision-making process?

What do you think about my three traits? What would you add? What would you exclude?

Clarence Stowers, Jr.
As pastor at Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago, I am passionate about helping people connect life’s dots so they can live abundantly. I have more than 20 years of leadership experience as a lead pastor and executive director of a Christian school, and have been in full-time ministry for 23 years. The greatest times for me are with my wife Shauntai and my two sons, Myles and Joshua, and my baby girl Lauren.