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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Thanks to the readers of my blog, I've collected an excellent list of things to do if you're a leader who wants to create a culture of fear in your organization. Not that the readers and commenters are suggesting that you actually do these things. With the idea in mind that a good way to learn leadership is to do the opposite of what really crappy leaders do, here is an edited list of readers' suggestions:

As an executive in the financial services industry for more than 40 years, Bob MacDonald noticed that too often, job applicants looked at ethics as nothing more than a set of rules. They would meet the minimum ethical standard just to get by. So he founded Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm to teach children that ethical people do the right things even when they aren’t required.

In the workplace and the sporting world, teams that buy into their coach’s vision have a much better chance of success. How can you get your team all working toward the same goal—your goal? Start by following these four steps to build support:

Two University of Virginia leaders weigh in on what books you might want on your leadership bookshelf. Here are suggestions from Harry Harding, dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and Debbie Ryan, UVA’s women’s basketball coach for 35 years:

“It is too easy to let the person with great presentation or language skills buffalo you into thinking that they are better or more knowledgeable than someone else who might not necessarily have that particular set of skills,” says Robert W. Selander, who recently stepped down as CEO at MasterCard. Lesson: Don’t let style distract you from substance.

Keith Cowing, a software entrepreneur who has worked for Goldman Sachs and Lockheed Martin, respects the discipline, tenacity and elite performance of Navy SEALs and believes we can learn a lot from them. Here are seven lessons from the SEALs, whom Cowing notes are able to unleash military firepower on groups 10 times their size:

Moving on up can be thorny if you’re not prepared to make the transition from a peer to a supervisor. David Peck, aka “The Recovering Leader,” offers six things to consider during and after a promotion:

Take every internal discrimination complaint seriously—and take quick action, too. Why? If the employee doesn’t think your response was adequate, an EEOC complaint will probably follow. And that can spell big trouble if the EEOC decides to expand its investigation beyond the specifics of the original complaint.

Help a team inch closer to perfect solutions by starting a failure contest. Why? It lets your people know that it’s better to unleash their creativity, even if the result isn’t ideal. Ask them to come up with the most outrageous idea, instead of the safest. Those risky “failures” may push them toward a breathtaking innovation—separating your company from the also-rans.

James Laychak’s brother Dave died at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Every day afterward, Laychak would wait for information and share his grief with others at the Pentagon’s family assistance center. Later, when he was named president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, which needed $30 million, Laychak brought all his skills to the task.

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