Leaders & Managers

From the nitty gritty of daily management to addressing your aspirations of leadership, this section for leaders & managers tells you how to make strong leadership decisions, build effective teams, delegate and stay above the everyday management muddle.

Get tips, strategies, tool and advice on: performance reviews, preventing workplace violence, best-practices leadership, team building, leadership skills, people management and management training.

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Part of the job of a military leader involves helping raw recruits gain confidence so that they feel like they belong in the unit. Otherwise, their self-doubt can make them a liability to the team.

Part of the job of a military leader involves helping raw recruits gain confidence so that they feel like they belong in the unit. Otherwise, their self-doubt can make them a liability to the team.

As a new fighter pilot, JV Venable recalls the day he participated in his first operational fighter squadron. In poor weather, Venable was among four jets forced to fly a complex maneuver in the skies over Turkey. He did not execute well.

While he landed safely, he knew his squad noticed his shaky piloting. Because he was new to the unit, he worried that he had lost any chance to establish credibility.

In the van heading home, the most respected member of the squad, Bill “Blaze” Binger, exclaimed, “I got to tell you boys, that was one of the worst approaches of my life. I was all over the sky and never did settle into a smooth rhythm. It was mighty ugly!”

Venable suddenly relaxed. He figured that if the team leader felt so disappointed in his performance, Venable’s mistakes didn’t stand out as much.

“If someone with his experience and reputation could fly a bad approach, then maybe I wasn’t so bad after all,” Venable thought. 

Later, Venable realized that Binger had been flying right behind him—and could see Venable’s every bob and weave. It made Venable appreciate Binger’s self-criticism even more.

“To this day, I don’t know if he was really talking about himself,” Venable says. “Or if he was trying to let me know that even the best fall short every now and then.”

Venable went on to lead the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and a combat group of 1,100 airmen in the Persian Gulf.

— Adapted from “Building Commitment on Your Team,” JV Venable, www.greatleadershipbydan.com.
Sometimes, the best meetings follow an unconventional path. Rather than stick to an all-business agenda, some leaders experiment with different types of gatherings to encourage participants to loosen up.
Soon after Steve Cannon became president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA in 2012, he launched an ambitious, long-term initiative to upgrade customer service, stating, "This is going to be my legacy."

You cannot lead an anxious workforce by making them even more worried. If you warn employees about the possibility of a recession or discuss other doomsday scenarios, you risk driving them to despair. On the other hand, relentless cheerleading amid shrinking profits won’t enhance your credibility and will have limited impact if people sense more pain in the near term.

In the cosmetics business, the push for new products never ends. Consumers clamor for breakthroughs. As CEO of Sephora Americas, Calvin McDonald has made innovation a top priority. In March 2016, he launched the Sephora Innovation Lab. Based in San Francisco, the lab enables the French-owned cosmetics chain to conduct research with the help of outside partners. The goal is to create a space where employees can collaborate and test ideas without fear of failure.

A new Gallup poll reveals that millennials want a “holistic relationship” with their supervisors. Meaning they want the boss to ask about their weekends.
Entrepreneur Michael Alden says the key to success is often just 5% more: putting in 5% more time and effort, giving 5% more to employees or being 5% more efficient.
Want to get the most from your remote staff? Showing that out of sight does not mean out of mind encourages them to step up their game and contribute to the company’s development.
Developing and executing a digital strategy is too important to delegate or outsource. According to the 2015 Global Digital IQ survey, three-quarters of chief executive officers—76%—now believe they champion digital technologies. As recently as 2013, only 57% of executives surveyed said their CEO championed digital, before rising to 73% last year.
Believe it or not, certain “leaders” actually say this stuff. Steer clear of anything like it, even milder variants.
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