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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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Masao Yoshida was chief manager at Fukushima Daiichi power plant for only nine months when a 42-foot tsunami hit the plant two years ago, knocking out cooling systems for its six reactors. His story reflects the best any of us could do as leaders in crisis.
In the midst of the federal government shutdown, the law dictates that the President and members of Congress will continue to receive their pay, even as other federal workers must go without and merely hope for retroactive compensation.
Amar Bose, a pioneer in acoustics and founder of a company noted for its portable speakers and headphones, died in July at age 83. Bose’s legacy at both his company and at MIT, where he worked on the faculty for 40 years, was that of a teacher.
In 1991, Jerry Sternin headed to Vietnam. His goal: to fight child malnutrition in poor villages and produce results within six months. Sternin isolated the few people who were modeling problem-solving behavior when most of their peers were following negative patterns. He thus dis­­covered what the “positive deviants” (PD) did to produce such superior results.
Employees of Boston-based apparel company Life is Good asked whether they could do something to raise money for the victims of the bombings that occurred at this year's marathon. CEO Bert Jacobs' first response was no but he soon changed his mind. “We’re a brand about the power of optimism,” he says. “We should be leaders of the spirit when bad things happen.”
After flying 61 combat missions in World War II and winning military honors, Robert McDermott didn’t bask in the glow of his military heroics. Instead, he helped build the Air Force Academy into a model of military education and then shifted to the private sector to become CEO of USAA.
Mark Leslie ran two firms before becoming chairman and CEO of Veritas Soft­­ware in 1990. He knew from experience that when senior executives make deci­­sions based on shared information with their employees, it decreases office politics and helps everyone buy into the company’s strategy.
When Glenn Murphy left a Canadian drugstore chain in 2007 to become CEO of Gap, the clothing retailer had sustained a multiyear losing streak. But it’s finally bouncing back.
Throughout his 17 years in the financial services industry, Graham Coxell has witnessed good and bad leadership. His conclusion? It’s better to seek to understand others than berate them.
What behaviors make great ­leaders? "Integrity is so essential. People will only follow someone who has integrity," says Al Bolea, who has enjoyed an exciting career in the oil and gas industry. Today, Bolea runs Applied ­Leadership Seminars in Big Lake, Alaska.
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