Is it important for a leader to be strong or effective? Or are these qualities one in the same?Is it important for a leader to be strong or effective? Or are these qualities one in the same?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think strength and effectiveness are the same quality, but much depends on how you define those terms.  In some organizations, there are people who have great power, but they are not effective because they do not accomplish the goals of their organizations. Are they strong?  Maybe and maybe not!  Can an effective leader be weak?  Probably not, but again, how are we defining strength?  Think about the person who has a great deal of power, a dictator, for example.  He is strong, certainly, but is he effective?  Is strength the same as power? I don't think so.  So, it is important to define your terms.  A strong person might be strong because of his or her internal resources, for example, intelligence, experience, and common sense.  This person might have little external power, but might be able to be completely effective.  I hope this helps. 

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It depends on how you define strength. Effectiveness can be measured in objective terms of outcomes; strength can be gauged in a variety of ways, not all of which are objective. Some measure strength in terms of visibility, ability to exert pressure and influence, and other "loud" ways. A strong leader can also be a quiet worker behind the scenes. Passive-aggressiveness can be quite strong; but is it an effective way to lead?

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have found that strong leaders actually inspire employees to be more effective and thus the organization is better run with a strong leader that helps others excel than with an effective leader with no leadership strengths.

Now, I can almost guarantee you that both will eventually meet and come together as one.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Leaders do have to be strong to be effective. It's not easy at all to be a leaer. People look for weakness, and take advtange of it. There is more to being a effective leader than just being strong. You also have to listen to people, and be likable enough that they follow you or trust you.
joe30pl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with everyone. Being strong and being effective are not exclusive. One can be strong, but ineffective. Strong in what way? Many leaders could easily be called strong, but their strength was in being harsh towards their people (i.e. most dictators).

arrellbelle | Student

Well, a leader is obviously someone that people look up to for leadership, strength, courage, and guidance. I think that a leader has to be strong, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional. As long as that is achieved, then whatever they can give back to their friends will be effective.

kc4u | Student

Effectiveness is surely a mark of strength, though being strong is not always being effective. Strength may refer to the strength of the body, or that of the mind, or both. It means the physical, or mental, or both physical and mental ability to do things despite opposition. But a strong action may not be effective unless it is quantitatively as well as qualitatively matched with the purpose to produce the desired result. A good leader in any sphere of life must be both strong and effective. A leader requires strength to motivate the followers to reach up to the summit, and once the summit is reached, the strength proves to be effective.

krishna-agrawala | Student

To be strong, and to be effective are two very different things in leaders, or for that matter, in anyone.

The term strong implies the ability to act or have your way in face of opposition from others. Leaders may sometimes do this. But this does not mean that all actions taken against opposition are actions consistent with leadership quality. Also, ability to act is not the same as the ability to achieve the objective  of your action. In contrast, the term effective implies the ability to achieve the objective you set out to achieve.