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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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When the World Trade Center was hit on 9/11, Fire Department Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer happened to already be on the scene. That made him the first FDNY fire chief to take command. What we’ve learned since then, he says, is that leaders don’t simply “com­­mand and control” during a catastrophic event. They go beyond that.

Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet hit a few bumps early in her term, but went on to reach Chile’s highest-ever approval rating. Even while she was president, she was being recruited to lead what would become a new initiative by the United Nations. U.N. Women would be the first high-profile inter­national agency dedicated to gender.

To paraphrase business writer Daniel Pink, the future will belong to those who can flex, adapt, empathize, tell stories and create. Theater performers, whose stock in trade is flexibility, adaptability and creativity, could teach us a thing or two.

An organization’s health results in part from its ability to renew itself faster than its competitors. Researchers from McKinsey & Co. use a process called the “five A’s” to build a competitive advantage.

Little is known of founding father Ethan Allen beyond his bold predawn attack on Fort Ticonderoga during the American Revolution. But the roots of this fire­­brand’s leadership extend deep below his exploits with the Green Mountain Boys, his band of Vermont volunteers.
Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have made plenty of terrific movies, including “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13.” Their secret, says former Disney CEO Michael Eisner in his book about partnerships, is freedom from being in lock step.
Dean Kamen, inventor of the portable insulin pump, the wheelchair that climbs stairs and the Segway electric scooter, has three operating principles that have propelled him into leadership in his field:
In 2009, when the rest of the financial industry faced a crisis of legitimacy, Standard Chartered was raising its standing, increasing its overall lending and handing out small and midsize business loans. Today, the bank’s motto says it all: “Here for good.”
So much attention is paid to whether employees are “engaged” in their jobs or not. But managers at all levels need to periodically ask themselves a similar question: Are YOU engaged in managing your employees?

A potent quote, perhaps one learned early in your career, can convey your vision of life and work to your people. Enrique Salem, president and CEO of Symantec, reels off a few of his favorite leadership lessons, which happen to be quotes:

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