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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.

With a legacy as author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and as a thought leader, Julia Ward Howe influenced the course of the Civil War. She stuck to her resolution of writing what she thought, no matter whom it offended (her own husband included). Yet, she was known as a builder. "Ambitious people climb," she said, "but faithful people build."

Mark Twain and Jesus had it right when they said we all are sheep. Business improvement guru and Good to Great author Jim Collins makes the same point in Great by Choice. There, he debunks some myths.

Giving feedback is an important management task but certainly not an easy one—especially when the feedback isn’t all sunshine. Fortunately, it’s a skill that can be learned. Follow this seven-step method whenever giving negative feedback:

Your essential job as a leader is to help your people reach their own goals in service of the organization’s goals. That’s why you need to set goals col­laboratively. Three reasons:

As a federal prosecutor, DeMaurice Smith never backed off. That’s precisely how Smith, more lately as head of the NFL Players Association, secured a good contract for his members in 2011. His secrets? Three P’s:

Some employees are simply difficult to manage. They start argu­­ments and may see harassment or discrimination everywhere. But sometimes they cross a line, implying they could get violent. How you handle their complaints can spell the difference between winning and losing a lawsuit.

Q. We do not have a workplace violence policy and would like to prepare one. What should we include in the policy?

When employees lose their jobs, they often look for a reason to sue. One common tactic is to argue that a layoff was used as an excuse to get rid of “unproductive” employees, especially those who take advantage of their right to FMLA leave. That’s why HR must develop a performance-appraisal system that documents that having taken FMLA leave wasn’t a factor when you evaluated employees’ work.

As World War II came to an end, Secretary of State George Marshall told the State Department’s director of policy planning, George Kennan, to get his team together and come up with an economic relief plan for Europe. Marshall didn’t become bogged down in telling Kennan how to do his job. But he did offer “two deeply serious and unforgettable words,” says Kennan. “Avoid trivia.”
In the early years of the Medici banking empire, which established commerce throughout Europe and later funded the greatest art of the Italian Renaissance, its founders had to set some ground rules. Still, it became clear immediately that however terrific the rules, staffing is always most important. Then as now, you need honest and astute managers.