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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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Well-supported teams receive the information, training and rewards they need to keep chugging along. Here are four prescriptions for coaching your team:

Looks like General Motors plans to become even more aggressive in attempting a turnaround with the resignation of Frederick “Fritz” Henderson. The carmaker’s board sees Chairman Edward Whitacre, interim CEO and a former chief at AT&T, as a proactive outsider who has more experience with government oversight, mergers and acquisitions. GM also is looking outside for a new CEO—a dramatic cultural change.

If you keep adding task after task to the point where your duties expand like a monstrous blob, you’re in trouble. The resulting complexity can immobilize even the most organized executive.

The longer Scott Berkun works as a shaman in leadership circles, the greater the danger he’ll start believing his own PR and acting like one of those annoying gurus who talk as if everybody else is too stupid to do in a year what he could do in a day. To keep know-it-alls from falling for their own malarkey, he makes the following suggestions for keeping “experts” in line:

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Whoever first said it (there’s an argument over that), Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, did it. In 2008, he invited a dozen of his fiercest critics to dinner. Because of the evening, LeBlanc and his dissidents now have a “reasonably affable working relationship.”

Did the entire first decade of the 21st century pass without your company getting serious about online marketing? If your organization doesn’t have an online strategy to speak of—no web site or a skimpy one, no social-media strategy, no e-mail list, no e-newsletter—you can still catch up. Marketing expert Seth Godin recommends venturing forward with these strategies:

Think like an inventor by looking for opportunity in failure. British inventor James Dyson says that in trying to develop a fine blade of high-speed air for another product, his team accidentally came up with new hand-dryer technology ... Nail the solution to a problem by defining the problem ... Give better feedback with the "puppy theory," says Carol Bartz, chief executive of Yahoo ...

High-performance leaders revolutionize their roles by changing the dynamic between leader and follower: Not only do they hold team members accountable for results, but they themselves expect to be held accountable by team members. Being held accountable requires a thick skin and brave employees willing to offer honest feedback.

Mike Figliuolo’s favorite part of being a tank platoon leader was taking his men on a tank gunnery exercise. But a new soldier who transferred into his platoon flouted rules, took a sloppy approach and lacked fire in the belly. No amount of yakking helped—but a 7UP did ...

John S. Barry staked his entire claim on WD-40 and the motto of keeping it simple. When he took over his father-in-law's small company—$1 million in annual sales—he made it smaller, chopping the product line to one and renaming the company after that product: WD-40. Then … no changes—for 25 years. While his strategy seems simple, it’s actually pretty savvy:

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