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Best-Practices Leadership

A leader in an organization can’t do everyone’s job. Instead of micromanaging, strong leaders use organizational leadership to coordinate, communicate, motivate and delegate among employees and team members. For comprehensive organizational effectiveness, each individual needs to be seen as a contributor, with the leader at the helm.

Most importantly, best-practices leadership involves keeping employees motivated throughout the process, adapting your scope or strategy as necessary, and developing an effective communication strategy.

Some people never make it to the other side because they’re more successful at being doers. This is a crucial point in determining if you’re going to move up the ranks.

Browse our articles, tools and advice on best-practices leadership.

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William Marbury had been confirmed as a Washington, D.C., justice of the peace in the waning days of the Adams administration, but the incoming Jefferson administration refused to seat him. The U.S. Supreme Court had to decide what to do. Chief Justice John Marshall found a way.
With his famous optimism, risk-taking and hatred of compromise, President Woodrow Wilson went for maximum outcomes. He failed big and won big.
Stanford professor Bob Sutton regards leadership as an expression of comedy and tragedy. For instance, he has said that good leaders know when to be boring, vague, emotionally detached and authoritarian. In a recent interview, he was asked when boredom might be desirable.
A combat veteran of World War I, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright was posted to the Philippines in 1941. Forced to surrender after being overwhelmed by Japanese forces in the battle for Bataan Peninsula, he spent more than three years in captivity. He anxiously asked the commandos who finally found him what had been on his mind all that time: Was he considered a disgrace?

Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, aptly described as “one of America’s great weird brands,” made its U.S. debut in the late 1940s. Emanuel Bronner liked to talk about “constructive capitalism,” which he de­­scribed as sharing profits with workers and going gentle on the earth. His heirs codified this concept.

The wartime letters of Thomas Jefferson to George Washington and other Revolution leaders offer a vivid glimpse into the mind of a great leader in a time of crisis. Most of them contain four key elements.

If you think your customers exist solely to “buy your stuff,” you’re missing a huge part of the picture. Instead of using your company’s profits to promote your company, wouldn’t it be more effective if you let the customers themselves drive your sales and marketing efforts and fuel your growth?

When something fails, follow these steps: 1. Look in the mirror. 2. Go right back to work. 3. Communicate directly. 4. Seek other leaders on the team. 5. Make necessary changes.

Our founding fathers paid dearly for their convictions, but as anthropologist Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

When Maestro Wolfgang Heinzel stands before the Merck Orchestra, he may look like an authoritarian leader, commanding musicians from his podium. But Heinzel doesn’t actually know how to play the instruments himself—“in the same way a leader in an organization can’t do everyone’s job,” says Jon Chilingerian. Here is what maestros—and good leaders—understand.

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