The Effective Executive Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Effective Executive gives leaders a step-by-step formula to become more productive, developing their own strengths and those of their employees.

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The Effective Executive Summary

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Is your workplace culture efficient? Do you get along with your employees and boss, working as a team to accomplish your goals? I’m willing to bet your office, like most, has its struggles with effectiveness. How would it feel to overcome these hurdles to success and reach your true potential as both a leader and a team?

Executives are under a lot of pressure to perform at their best. They must make swift decisions, delegate efficiently, use time wisely, and much more. Above all, leaders need to be an example of peak performance on the job. Juggling all of these responsibilities is a tough task. 

If you feel like you’re drowning in your leadership role, The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done will help you get your head above water and thrive. As a management consultant who has written over 35 books, Drucker is well-prepared to teach us how to become an effective executive.

Here are 3 great lessons about becoming a more efficient leader:

  1. To be an effective executive you must lead by example, first developing your own skills.
  2. Learn how to make the right decisions and stand by them, no matter what others say.
  3. Focusing on the talents of your employees will build an efficient working environment.

Let’s see what the prolific Peter Drucker has to say about how to be a better leader!

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Lesson 1: Developing your own skills so you can lead by example is a must to be an effective executive.

One team I worked on had two executives that worked closely with the head of our large group. I remember how much responsibility they had. They worked hard to prepare trainings and do administrative work. But they never ceased to be good examples of taking care of their own tasks. These leaders always lead from the front. Seeing their examples made me want to be better and work harder. 

The first lesson in becoming effective is to focus on your own progress so you can lead by example. Reviewing your results and performance, checking them against your expectations, is crucial. You must become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. This is vital to learning how to delegate the work that others can do better than you. 

Additionally, seek insight from others in performance reviews. You may not be able to see your weaknesses or strengths as well as others. Getting outside input is vital to improving your process so that you can be the best example to your team. When people see that they can give you feedback and that you will use it, they will trust you more.

Lesson 2: Master the ability to stick to your decisions, regardless of others’ criticism.

As a manager of people, you have to make a lot of decisions. These choices affect other people, who won’t always agree with the path you select. Thankfully, there are some useful tips to making good decisions. People may still disagree with you, but you can have the confidence that you made the right choice.

Start by asking yourself if the decision you’re about to make is actually worth making. You can sum this up easily by asking two additional questions:

  • What would the outcome be if you didn’t do anything?
  • Would the most likely result of the decision greatly outweigh the costs and risks?

If the answer to the second question is “no,” don’t proceed with making the choice.

Making decisions is one thing, but the execution of choices already made is even harder. Regardless of the difficulty, you must learn to follow through to become an effective leader. 

Start by managing commitment and enforcement of decisions. Without these in place, a new policy will never go into effect. To manage this better, identify the specific people responsible for each step of the plan. No matter how much criticism you receive, stand by your decision and take full responsibility for the outcomes.

Lesson 3: To make your team more efficient, focus on the strengths of your people.

All my life I heard that I should work on my weaknesses. Then, about a year ago, I read something that changed everything for me. The author mentioned how he didn’t ever feel truly confident until he worked on improving his strengths, not weaknesses. After applying this myself, I am grateful for a surge of self-esteem like I’ve never seen before. 

As an executive, you have the power to give this same kind of confidence-boosting power to your team members. All you have to do is play to their strengths. 

When you delegate, for example, don’t just try to get others to do your job for you. Carefully plan to tap into people’s strengths to utilize their help. You should only hand responsibility for a task to someone when they are better at it than you. Also, make sure that they are equipped with the resources and the time available to handle it.

You don’t have to be in a leadership position to follow this advice though. Everybody has a boss, and sometimes it’s necessary to manage them also. Your attitude should be one of “how can I do the best job possible?” Seeing your work in this light will make sure that your boss doesn’t have to exhaust their time managing you. And it will also improve your opportunities and position within the company.

The Effective Executive Review

Although I’m not in the type of executive position this book teaches about, I really enjoyed The Effective Executive. I can see how these tips would be useful for someone managing a team in a larger company. But I really liked that this book taught me how to take what Drucker teaches and apply it to my current business ventures.

Who would I recommend The Effective Executive summary to?

The 48-year-old manager in a startup who is trying to get the right team together, the 31-year-old who wants to improve their performance at the job they just began, and anyone who wants to make their workplace more unified and efficient.

Last Updated on August 18, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.