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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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Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, likes to introduce himself as the com­pany’s customer service representative. He’s part joking, but his point is clear. By focusing on serving customers, Newmark preserves his brand.

While top CEOs don’t necessarily know all the answers, they display passionate curiosity with almost everyone they meet. Their ability to ask questions and expand their horizons gives them a fuller understanding of complex issues.

Rob Eberle, president and chief executive of Bottomline Technologies, cites three things as his primary roles as CEO: bring in new talent, help his people get better each year and listen to them. "The technology today won’t be the technology tomorrow," he says. "It’s the people that matter most."

Normally, we make decisions based on the information right in front of us and overlook data off to the side. That leads to a trap called the “spotlight effect.” It’s better to move the spotlight from side to side to gather a wider range of information. Use the WRAP method to expand your frame of reference.

In the family-owned Lego toymaker, innovation over time had brought on way too much complexity. Enough was enough.

GE chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Immelt is famously at ease. Occasionally, he simply issues an order. When done in moderation, Immelt says, leadership by fiat can drive change.

Businesses in the developing world traditionally have been obsessed with seniority, and ambitious young people have been equally obsessed with finding paths to corporate seniority. Not anymore.
A time machine interview with the resourceful and fearless Clara Barton, who was the first female clerk at the U.S. Patent Office. She ultimately founded the American Red Cross, serving as its first president.
Change can prove threatening to em­­ployees. They might view the near future as an unwelcome disruption to their familiar routine. To pry open their minds, instruct your team to pretend the future has already occurred.
When The Wall Street Journal interviewed Denise Morrison in 2007, she was president of Campbell USA. Senior executives usually downplay their ambitions, but Morrison boldly told the re­­porter that she wanted to become CEO of a large corporation. In 2011, she be­came Campbell's CEO.
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