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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One day at about 2 p.m., David Silverman had an “Aha!” moment. He and his two-person staff hadn’t eaten lunch yet. Silverman didn’t care about lunch. He was focused on their project, which for the first time felt like his project. For the first time, Silverman felt like an executive. In truth, however, he had taken only the first step toward leadership: ownership.

An IT technician for the city of Philadelphia spotted an opportunity when she discovered 28 city cell phones that were going unused. She rented them out to friends, family members and eight city employees. The beneficiaries of her entrepreneurship then racked up more than $30,000 worth of phone calls and texts ... She agreed to plead guilty to third-degree felony theft, obstruction and misuse of public property.
An Oscar-winning director whose films bring in billions, James Cameron is known for exacting top performances from talent. Among his rules for leading: Motivate with a sense of exploration. For Cameron, innovation is a tool for uniting his team. “We’re doing extraordinary things that outsiders would not even understand,” he says.

The oil spill that has threatened both the sea life and the economy in the Gulf Coast illustrates two major flaws in the leadership of British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward: He allowed the company to run ahead of the technology available, and he blindly trusted outsourcing.

Steve Cody, a public relations consultant who blogs as The Repman, says he’s learned four things about good communication from practicing stand-up comedy: 1. Courage builds courage. 2. Timing is (almost) everything. 3. It’s not just what you say, but how. 4. Humor works like a magnet.

In a recent group coaching session, we were talking about the challenge of delegating actions and decisions to your team while still keeping yourself informed of things that could put either your organization or career at risk. Here are some of the ideas we came up with on that front:
What are the four most dangerous letters in the English alphabet? ASAP. When delegating a task, many managers say they want something done “ASAP” instead of giving a specific deadline. While requesting results “as soon as possible” can underscore the urgency of the job at hand, it can also breed resentment if workers tire of always having to rush in a panic to give you what you want.

If you want your organization’s employees to work more productively, pay more attention to them. During the economic crisis of 2009, the most effective business strategy turned out to be increased supervision and management of employees.

If you believe Nike president Charlie Denson, sticking with Tiger Woods as a Nike product endorser has more to do with Woods’ reputation as a golfer than as a philanderer. “A lot of people seem to overlook that very, very important component of the relationship with the athlete,” says Denson. “If we’re going to create the greatest product in the world, it’s the greatest athletes in the world [who] are going to confirm that.”

Manage your company’s reputation by starting a two-way dialogue with consumers ... Follow the recipe of Jordan Zimmerman, founder of Zimmerman Advertising, to increase productivity ... Be more innovative by spending at least 15 to 30 minutes per day jotting down questions that “challenge the status quo” in your company or industry, recommends Brigham Young University Professor Jeff Dyer.
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