How to be a highly effective leader

William Jennings Bryan said, “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

16priWilliam Jennings Bryan said, “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

I have in my years of leadership defined certain unquestionable “characteristics of significant and effective leaders”. One of these, which we will be discussing today, is goal setting. A very important aspect of being an effective leader.


This is a formal process during which you clearly define targets that you plan to achieve. When you set goals for yourself, you commit to the outcomes that you believe you can accomplish either personally or through your team.

Goal setting is part of creating a long-term vision for your team, and provides the motivation to get you there. In addition, goal setting benefits your team by helping you decide what you want to focus your resources on and how you need to spend your time.


  • Focus on what is most important to achieve on a daily, weekly, monthly or annually basis.
  • Provide a unified direction for your team.
  • Achieve more and spend less time on non-critical and less important issues.
  • Motivate your team members and thereby improve your overall job satisfaction.


Key to setting effective goals is to know that there are different types of goals.

Goals differ in terms of due dates and importance. Short-term goals are achievable within a one or two month time frame. Long-term goals are achievable over the course of several months or even years.


Essential: These goals are crucial to your team and your operational functions. They have to be accomplished in excellence in order for you to run your unit successfully. Essential goals fill an immediate need.

Solutions-orientated: This type of goal creates a more attractive working condition for business; it is innovative and gives you the opportunity to take advantage of a specific business opportunity. Solutions-orientated goals are important, however they are long-term focused.

Nice to have: Have you ever heard the question, especially when it comes to making a financial commitment: “Do we have to have something or would it be nice to have something?” These goals make improvements that will enhance your team’s performance and business. They usually relate to making activities faster or easier however are not crucial for the continued functioning of your team.


As a leader you are required to set effective goals for your team. A tip is to develop a road map, so that your goals are clearly seen and understood.

Effective goals are always:

  • Written down in an understandable language and format, have time frames and are measurable.
  • Deliver value, your team has to buy into the goal, otherwise you will lose motivation when you face challenges.
  • Achievable however challenging and provide room for growth.

Effective goal setting increases commitment, buy-in, a sense of ownership and spreads accountability.

“The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.” Cecil B. Demille

Gavin Watson

Gavin Watson

Gavin Watson is the founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of the BOSASA Group of Companies. Watson has successfully navigated all aspects of BOSASA since inception and continues to ensure deliverables of excellence. He established a client-focused, system driven Group that operates on Word Class standards. Gavin Watson is known for his historical contribution to the transformation of South Africa at great risk to himself and his family during the Apartheid years, leading to a new democratic dispensation. Affectingly known at “Nkokheli” which means “leader, Gavin Watson is a powerful motivator, an exceptional entrepreneur and a force for positive change in South Africa.
Gavin Watson

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