What is personal effectiveness and how can you develop it?

As an individual, your ability to use your skills and expertise has a profound impact on the achievement of your personal goals.

However, personal effectiveness in a leadership role demands a different set of skills. As a manager and leader, your level of personal effectiveness is key to business success, facilitating effective decision-making, communication and strategic planning.

The good news is that you can learn to be a better leader.

So, what is personal effectiveness and what strategies can you use to cultivate a culture of personal effectiveness within your organisation?

What is personal effectiveness?

Someone demonstrating personal effectiveness works with all available resources to achieve their goals.

From using their own behaviour, skills, experience and energy to harnessing the help and support of others, personal effectiveness traits enable them to reach goals, make informed decisions and manage both time and resources efficiently.

Personal effectiveness means getting the best out of yourself. This is achieved by understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and continually striving to improve and grow, both professionally and personally.

In terms of success and achievement, personal effectiveness looks different to different people. It is a trait that embraces a range of behaviours and skills associated with mental wellbeing and enables you to be more productive and motivated in the workplace.

What impact does personal effectiveness have in the workplace?

Personal effectiveness in the workplace significantly impacts many different aspects of organisational and individual performance.

Personal effectiveness, – encompassing talents, strengths, skills, energy and time management -, is a decisive factor in driving optimal performance and delivering value.

People with personal effectiveness skills are better to work with because they are motivated, engaged, organised, and consistently deliver on their promises. They understand themselves and their abilities and are more agile and resilient in the face of changing circumstances. Understanding how individuals can harness their strengths and work most efficiently is indispensable for fostering success within your organisation.

While management tools can be useful aids to good leadership, the greatest leverage to improve employees performance lies in creating a motivating interpersonal environment.

Effective leadership and management in the workplace:

  1. Improves profitability by effective management of time and resources – enhancing operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, productivity and overall performance.
  2. Produces consistently high-quality work.
  3. Enables job requirements to be met and exceeded for a fulfilling professional life and contribute to the organisation’s success.
  4. Creates higher employee engagement: employees feel valued and motivated, leading to higher levels of engagement, retention, and productivity.
  5. Reduces employee management costs – investing in personal effectiveness initiatives can reduce time spent on employee management by enabling leaders to be proactive in addressing potential issues, minimising the impact on operations and mitigating costly consequences.
  6. Encourages more agile thinking and engagement with continuous learning and development, driving the organisational change necessary for adapting to new challenges and technologies.

How personal effectiveness improves leadership and management skills?

A leadership role demands a different set of personal effectiveness skills to those used to achieve individual goals.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Monique Valcour says: “To lead, you must be able to connect, motivate, and inspire a sense of ownership of shared objectives. Heightening your capacity to lead others requires being able to see how you think and act, and how your behaviour affects others.”

Personal effectiveness plays a key role in enhancing leadership skills. By prioritising and cultivating their personal effectiveness, leaders become better equipped to inspire and guide their teams toward achieving business goals and objectives.

It follows that leading well requires a commitment to continuous personal development. While management tools can be useful, consciously adopting positive mindsets and behaviours will make you a more effective leader.

Personal effectiveness enhances leadership skills by increasing:

  • Self-awareness – effective leaders recognise their strengths, weaknesses, values and emotions. This self-awareness enables them to make informed decisions and adapt their leadership style to different situations.
  • Emotional intelligence – leaders with high emotional intelligence can manage their own emotions and empathise with others, helping to build strong relationships, resolve conflicts and create a positive workplace environment.
  • Communication skills – effective leaders communicate clearly, actively listen and tailor their messages to the audience. They clearly articulate their vision to engage and motivate their teams, foster open dialogue and collaboration, encourage feedback and ensure everyone understands the vision and goals.
  • Adaptability – agile leaders who adapt to a constantly changing business landscape, challenges and opportunities, inspire their teams to embrace change and drive innovation.
  • Decision-making – effective leaders make informed and fully accountable choices based on data, intuition and collaboration.
  • Time management – effective leaders prioritise tasks, focussing on strategic initiatives, delegating appropriately, and managing their time efficiently to enhance productivity and manage resources effectively.
  • Resilience – resilient leaders bounce back from setbacks and failures, learn from them and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Influence and motivation – leaders influence others through their actions, values and vision. They motivate their teams by setting clear expectations, recognising achievements and fostering a sense of purpose.

How to develop personal effectiveness?

By focusing on personal effectiveness, leaders can enhance their leadership skills and create a positive impact on their teams and organisations. A continuous journey of learning empowers effective people to lead with excellence and achieve remarkable results.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Monique Valcour suggests a series of steps to design practices and behaviours to apply against any developmental challenge you want to take on:

  • Identify a problem to solve or a future result you’d like to achieve.
  • Articulate why it is important.
  • Conduct research.
  • Identify how to measure success.
  • Commit to learning supportive behaviours.
  • Shape your behaviours by sharing, empathising, asking the right questions and acknowledge achievements.
  • Seek feedback.
  • Celebrate success.

Highly effective people attribute many of their achievements to investment in lifelong learning and leadership training. Effective leaders are curious and by enhancing their knowledge and skills, create a positive impact on their organisations and the team they lead.

Leadership courses such as the IoD’s Chartered Director Programme provide valuable insights, facilitate a clear path towards success and evidence professional competence as a director, playing a significant role in development and benefitting your organisation through improved performance.

Other strategies to cultivate personal effectiveness include:

  1. Set well-defined objectives to help you remain focused and motivated. Segment goals into manageable tasks and create the tactics and strategy to achieve them.
  2. Leverage your strengths and apply them to your work and personal life.
  3. Believe in your abilities and cultivate resilience – recognise your achievements and build confidence.
  4. Prioritise tasks and commitments to effectively manage time and energy.
  5. Take regular breaks to recharge, improve focus and maintain productivity.
  6. Ensure your actions align with your core values.
  7. Prioritise your well-being, seek constructive feedback from colleagues, and establish effective organisational habits.
  8. Embrace a growth mindset and take accountability for your actions.

Developing a culture of personal effectiveness

While personal effectiveness will look different for everyone based on their unique goals and challenges, there are strategies that leaders can embrace to create a culture of personal effectiveness within the workplace. These include:

  • Open communication and collaborative working to encourage employees to be accountable for their work through an environment of trust and respect.
  • Ongoing training and development to empower employees with the necessary tools and skills to thrive.
  • Monitoring and measuring performance to evaluate and recognise effort and success.
  • Promoting health and wellbeing to create a positive working environment enabling individuals and organisations to thrive.
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion within the workplace.


Personal effectiveness leads directly to greater organisational success and returns essential for sustainable success in today’s volatile business landscape.

By fostering an environment of personal effectiveness in the workplace, organisations can create a culture of success. Investing in personal effectiveness training and development provides a positive return on investment in the form of increased productivity, morale and profitability.

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