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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Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and boss of his other startup, Square, lets anybody accept credit card payments through a little square swiper that attaches to a smartphone. It now processes $15 billion in transactions a year, up from $5 billion in April 2012.

Innovation isn’t about randomly tossing new products into the marketplace and seeing what sticks. The key is to first understand market needs and then develop solutions to meet them.

In everyday conversation, we may chafe at those who make assertions without proof. Too many dogmatic declarations can prove a turnoff. Yet top leaders thrive on dogmatism.

When Mattel hired Richard Dickson as general manager of its Barbie brand in 2008, the famous doll was in a lull. After hitting a high of $1.52 billion in ­Barbie sales in 2002, Mattel had struggled through a six-year decline. Dickson hit the ground running.
Many CEOs favor fact-based leadership. Rather than rely on their impressions or gut instinct, they tend to scrutinize facts and make decisions rooted in hard data. Alan Mulally, Ford Motor’s 68-year-old CEO, has stood out among leaders of American auto companies for his intense focus on numbers.
In late 2008, Domino’s market share was plummeting. Instead of blaming collapsing sales on the nation’s economic downturn, executives chose a surprising strategy: They admitted their main product—pizza—wasn’t very good.
After more than two years of testing a Doritos-flavored taco shell, Taco Bell still had not signed a contract to partner with the company that made Doritos. So as the date neared for a major launch, CEO Greg Creed invited Frito-Lay’s CEO to a meeting where they forged a handshake deal. Creed’s eagerness to forge ahead without an official contract paid off.
One of the signal traits of a leader is vision, but vision can be hard to capture or explain. Anne Wojcicki, founder of the mass market genetic testing firm 23andMe, has vision.
Just having a basic informational website doesn’t cut it anymore. No matter your industry or company size, it’s crucial to make it as easy as possible for connected consumers to interact with your business.
They may look just like any other of the 1,600 Panera locations, but five Panera Cares cafés don’t use price lists or cash registers. After three years, this pioneering effort—the first time a major U.S. corporation has put resources behind making pay-what-you-can work—is surviving.
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