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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Your team has just completed a major project, introduced a new product or closed a major deal. Tremendous effort was required, and everyone is rightfully pleased. They’re also tired and may not know what comes next. What do you do to move the team toward new goals or achievements?

When your company is in dire straits, what should you say to employees? Some leaders respond by laying out their company’s strengths and weaknesses, then confidently assuring employees that their company will overcome its obstacles and rise again. Nokia’s new CEO Stephane Elop has taken a different approach. Call it “shock treatment.”

To get better results, companies don’t need better managers, says Daniel Pink, author of Drive. They need more radical autonomy among employees. The old carrot-and-stick approach is failing, he says.

When it comes to assigning projects, do you spend most of your time telling employees how to do the work? Or do you give them clear goals and guidelines, then get out of the way? Micromanaging is an inefficient use of a manager’s time. It signals distrust of employees and inhibits them from taking initiative. Here are key signs of micromanaging and advice on how to reduce it.

Here’s hoping you don’t run the one in five organizations that are utterly unprepared to cope with the sudden loss of key leaders. In an American Management Association survey, 1,000 senior managers and executives say their companies sorely lack bench strength.
Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University professor who died of cancer in 2008 at age 47, earned a devout following after delivering his “last lecture” in 2007. He later gave another lecture, this one specifically about time management.
You can’t force people to change how they feel about their work. What you can do is focus on specific behaviors that solve real problems and deliver real results. Bit by bit, people begin thinking differently. Take the case of Aetna, which achieved one of the most successful turnarounds in U.S. corporate history.
Being an effective manager means confronting those “challenging” employees who, while typically good at their jobs, too often display unprofessional or downright obnoxious behavior. Simply tolerating such workers is a finger-in-the-dike approach, and it runs counter to two traits of good managers—leadership and decisiveness. Managers who silently put up with such behavior will undermine their own authority.

If you have good, human relationships with your people, you will have to work hard to screw up as a boss. The easiest and most common way to help relationships grow and thrive is through conversations. So, what’s a conversation?

Make any decision-making group more effective by limiting membership to seven. Once you have more than seven in the group, each additional member reduces decision effectiveness by 10%.
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