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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Teman and Teran Evans were headed into a buzz saw as they faced the recession with bachelor’s degrees in architecture. Fortunately, they did graduate work in design at Harvard and then founded their own firm, Dioscuri. Now they’re celebrity designers. They say you have to adapt to survive.
To make the topic of strategy more personal, Cynthia Montgomery, Timken Professor of Business Administration and immediate past head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, asks leaders to answer this question: Does your company matter? And also, what is your company adding to what already exists in the market?
The best leaders spend less time transmitting and more time receiving. The transmitters are so focused on driving their agenda and goals that people eventually tune them out. The receivers do more than just hammer the message home—they stop to learn and observe what’s going on with people.
On the Maersk Alabama, the captain’s cool head, long experience and clear sense of duty saved the ship from pirates off Africa’s east coast. To understand why it did end so well for Captain Richard Phillips and his crew, you have to go back to his days as a seaman learning by example that deeds count, not words.
As chief financial officer at Waste Management, Don Flynn raised millions so that the company could acquire hundreds of little haulers and build itself into an empire. When he died in 2011, his baby, LKQ, had $2.5 billion in sales.
Different employees crave different things from their managers. Here’s practical advice you can give the bosses in your organization. You’ll help them focus on the managerial qualities that matter most to employees—and forget about the window dressing workers don’t care about.
Guitar hero Brad Paisley admits that he sometimes finds it hard to relate to young musicians who move to Nashville primarily for fame and fortune. “As I’ve come to understand it, making music isn’t about competition,” he says. “It’s about collaboration. I am a player. And I play with people, not against them.”
John Adams was a founding father and second president of the United States, but perhaps his greatest acts of leadership were in recommending George Washington to be president, and John Marshall a justice of the Supreme Court.

While you’re Managing by Walking Around, throw in a dose of Managing by Walking in Their Shoes. The entire nation has witnessed what leaders can learn by spending time on the front lines, thanks to reality show “Undercover Boss.”

Sheena ­Iyengar and her fellow researchers at Columbia Business School set up a tasting booth near the entrance of a store, putting out either six choices of jam or 24 choices. They found that people were six times more likely to buy a jar of jam if they had only six choices versus 24. What are the implications for business leaders?
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