Yesterday, I talked about a number of different categories of leaders, with many examples of history’s most inspiring and influential leaders.

Five pillars of leadership

The elements of effective leadership are well-documented in one of the best-rated leadership books The Leadership Challenge.

Now into its fourth reprint, it is often linked in conversation with the great management books written by Peter Drucker, Michael Porter, Gary Hamel, Dr Ken Blanchard and Jim Collins.

This book has been on the top of my list for over 20 years. The authors and their teams researched and discovered five key practices that helped produce effective leaders and powerful results with thousands of team members.

1. Model the way

Lay down a set of principles on how people want to be treated and how goals can be achieved. It shows people how to complete actions that are modelled behaviours from the manager or the leader.

People notice that I carry cash folded up and held securely together by a small leather-encased, magnetic money clip.

When they see me pull out my money clip to pay for something, they often see a worn United States five-dollar bill wrapped around the other bills.

I don’t spend the five-dollar bill and when people ask me why, I explain that the bill serves as a reminder of the 16th president of the United States — Abraham Lincoln — who was assassinated in 1865.

Thereafter, I will share with them his personal qualities, ethics and leadership principles. Historically, he has been rated over many decades to be the most admired and trusted US president. The five-dollar bill reminds me of his qualities and what he stood for to help me in  my behaviour and actions with people.

2. Inspire a shared vision

Show people what can be achieved through a passionate belief that people can and do make a difference.

President John F. Kennedy helped ignite the Nasa space programme with his vision to get a man on the moon before the 1960s were over. Former astronaut Neil Armstrong took that first step on the moon for mankind on July 20, 1969.   

3. Challenge the process

Driving innovation fuels creativity and making mistakes while learning from them to find better methods is critical to breaking through old paradigms or beliefs.

4. Enable others to act

Make the most of people in a team by showing trust, respect and helping others who are capable and valued.

Mr Lee Iacocca, the chief executive officer of Chrysler Corporation was paid a $1 a year in the 1980s and everyone knew “the boss” was getting less than they were. 

Yet, Mr Iacocca and his senior team inspired tens of thousands of workers at Chrysler to bring the company back to respectability, quality and new profitability, which earned Mr Iacocca millions from the rising stock value and options he held.

5. Encourage the heart

Instil positive rewards, recognition and feedback while celebrating accomplishments of individuals and the team.

These five practices are supported by “how to” learning examples and competency methods supported by tens of thousands of case studies and research as referenced.

Effective leadership

Singapore just staged the fourth year of the Formula One night race, which gives great exposure and some profit to the city and its people. Singapore’s leadership teams and government officials set the bar very high to get the F1 approved and at a time that coincided with the early stages of the global financial crisis.

With a yearly budget of approximately $150 million dollars to stage the 2011 Formula 1, F1 has brought a net influx of over $50 million into the Singapore economy.

This has once again helped establish a new benchmark in South-east Asia with Singapore seen as a world-class city. Stack this up with the Youth Olympic Games last year, new casinos, mass upgrades and improvements at Sentosa Island plus the Singapore Flyer and it is  easy to see why so many are attracted to Singapore.

The best wins and victories are usually achieved when working with people who demonstrate effective management and leadership qualities that people like, trust and can embrace as their own.