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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Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and boss of his other startup, Square, lets anybody accept credit card payments through a little square swiper that attaches to a smartphone. It now processes $15 billion in transactions a year, up from $5 billion in April 2012.

Innovation isn’t about randomly tossing new products into the marketplace and seeing what sticks. The key is to first understand market needs and then develop solutions to meet them.

In everyday conversation, we may chafe at those who make assertions without proof. Too many dogmatic declarations can prove a turnoff. Yet top leaders thrive on dogmatism.

Many CEOs favor fact-based leadership. Rather than rely on their impressions or gut instinct, they tend to scrutinize facts and make decisions rooted in hard data. Alan Mulally, Ford Motor’s 68-year-old CEO, has stood out among leaders of American auto companies for his intense focus on numbers.
One of the signal traits of a leader is vision, but vision can be hard to capture or explain. Anne Wojcicki, founder of the mass market genetic testing firm 23andMe, has vision.
Just having a basic informational website doesn’t cut it anymore. No matter your industry or company size, it’s crucial to make it as easy as possible for connected consumers to interact with your business.
They may look just like any other of the 1,600 Panera locations, but five Panera Cares cafés don’t use price lists or cash registers. After three years, this pioneering effort—the first time a major U.S. corporation has put resources behind making pay-what-you-can work—is surviving.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, likes to introduce himself as the com­pany’s customer service representative. He’s part joking, but his point is clear. By focusing on serving customers, Newmark preserves his brand.

While top CEOs don’t necessarily know all the answers, they display passionate curiosity with almost everyone they meet. Their ability to ask questions and expand their horizons gives them a fuller understanding of complex issues.

Rob Eberle, president and chief executive of Bottomline Technologies, cites three things as his primary roles as CEO: bring in new talent, help his people get better each year and listen to them. "The technology today won’t be the technology tomorrow," he says. "It’s the people that matter most."

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