What Makes an Effective Leader?

By Lauren Abraham
College of Humanities and Social Sciences Student, Bachelor of Arts in Communications

a woman with three others behind her

“Dream with me.”

The goal of many leaders is to put a vision in the minds of their followers. When leaders have an idea, they aim to present it in a way that gets everyone on board.

But how does one do this? How do leaders gain the respect and affinity of their followers so that they want to take part in their vision? There are many different leadership styles or approaches that an individual will take when in a position of leadership.

For example, autocratic leaders act without discussing matters with their team members, and they rarely accept input from others. On the other hand, a leader with a Laissez-faire style takes a very “hands-off” approach, as they give large amounts of decision-making responsibility to their team members and don’t get very involved (Cherry, 2015).

While these leadership styles may be effective in certain situations, there are potential problems with each.

What about a transformational leader?

Transformational leaders empower others to act and develop a collaborative situation. They know that well-developed teams want freedom to perform, yet they require vision and direction from a leader (Roueche, Baker, & Rose, 2014).

When it comes to making decisions, transformational leaders encourage everyone who will be affected by the decision to give their input. This creates harmony and satisfaction within the team, because each member feels as though their opinion matters (Roueche et al., 2014).

Transformational leaders value people both as individuals and members of the team. They see members beyond just their role and as unique individuals who have something to offer. They welcome diversity, reward good work and understand what motivates people (Roueche et al., 2014).

Most importantly, transformational leaders model what they expect from their team members, and as a result, the team is inspired to follow their example.

In the end, transformational leaders have a vision of their end goal, and they can communicate this to their team members well.

So, next time you are in a leadership position, consider the traits of a transformational leader and how this may benefit your team.

Want to learn more about a degree in communication at Grand Canyon University? Request more information from our enrollment counselors to find out about your opportunities at GCU.


Cherry, K. A. (2015). Leadership styles. Retrieved from psychology.about.com.

Roueche, J., Baker, G., & Rose, R. (2014). Shared vision: Transformational leadership in American community colleges. Retrieved from books.google.com

More about Lauren:

Lauren Abraham is a junior at Grand Canyon University. She was born and raised in Phoenix and enjoys living here. She has loved her time at GCU so far, as she has made many friendships and discovered what she is passionate about. Currently, she is studying communications with a minor in marketing. She has always loved writing and working with people, and one day hopes to become an editor or journalist. She is also fascinated by social media, and is currently a social media intern for the Welcome to the America Project, which is an organization that helps newly resettled refugees in Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys staying active and spending time with her family and friends.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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