Effective Leaders Needed

Joyce B. Robinson

September 18, 2023

Share this article

What makes an effective leader? What sets them apart from other people? Is it their educational background, financial status, age, race, sex, or occupation? No, it is their awareness of the challenges they face, and the enthusiasm for creating new opportunities.

An effective leader must be able to influence and inspire other people. An effective leader possesses many qualities that sets them apart from the crowd as they face many challenges; they must be able to rise to the occasion.

What are the Challenges Leaders Face?

Being an effective leader requires discipline, patience, and the ability to work well with others, in order to accomplish a common goal. Other challenges include:

  • Accepting Criticism – One must learn to sort out the constructive, from which one can learn, and the malicious, which one must ignore.
  • Withstanding Adversity – Things will not always go well; failures will happen. A good leader will bounce back.
  • Delegating Authority – Making assignments and following up on the results. No one can do it all by themselves.
  • Speaking Before a Crowd – Talking at meetings and/or speaking during pickets or demonstrations.
  • Standing up to People in Powerful Positions – Not afraid to file a grievance when the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or employee’s rights are violated.
  • Always Doing What’s Best for the Organization – Never allowing their personal feelings to interfere with what is best for the union.
  • Sharing the Credit – Learning to praise others and to give credit where it is due.
  • Concentrating During Stressful Times – Able to concentrate under difficult circumstances, always keeping the union’s goal in mind.
  • Accepting Responsibility for Mistakes – Assuming responsibility for their mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Qualities Effective Leaders Should Possess

Effective leadership requires essential qualities.

Effective Leaders should be:

  • Honest – Are clear on what their values are and are consistent in applying them. Do the honest thing and never allow personal feelings to cloud their judgment.
  • Confident – Know where they are going, have outlined specific and obtainable goals for the organization, and stay the course.
  • Respectful – Treat all people in the organization with dignity and respect.
  • A Motivator – Have the confidence to make decisions and instill confidence in others.
  • Compassionate – Care not only about the organization, but also about the people, and demonstrate that through their actions.
  • A Visionary – Understand what is needed and how to achieve it. Solicit input, so that everyone feels that their opinion is important.
  • Knowledgeable and Humble – Keep abreast of current issues confronting the union. Are aware of the resources available to aid union members. But do not claim to know everything.
  • Levelheaded – Do not lose their cool under pressure. Rather than panic, they work harder and are not afraid to take risks or make mistakes.
  • Self-Aware – Know their own strengths and weaknesses and how to best utilize the strengths of others for the good of the organization.
  • Committed – Leads by example and work alongside everyone else, showing that the organization is more successful when everyone works together.
  • Diversity Orientated – Recognize the importance of diversity when appointing committee members or when making assignments. Understand that appreciating different points of view helps the union tap into the varied talents and resources of all its members.

Do you think you have what it takes to become an effective leader? If so, the APWU needs you! Join us in our fight to stop harassment, enforce the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and to save postal jobs and benefits. Contact your local president, and become involved.

Text for this article is from APWU’s Leadership Development Handbook. ■

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.