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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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Here’s hoping you don’t run the one in five organizations that are utterly unprepared to cope with the sudden loss of key leaders. In an American Management Association survey, 1,000 senior managers and executives say their companies sorely lack bench strength.
Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University professor who died of cancer in 2008 at age 47, earned a devout following after delivering his “last lecture” in 2007. He later gave another lecture, this one specifically about time management.
You can’t force people to change how they feel about their work. What you can do is focus on specific behaviors that solve real problems and deliver real results. Bit by bit, people begin thinking differently. Take the case of Aetna, which achieved one of the most successful turnarounds in U.S. corporate history.
Being an effective manager means confronting those “challenging” employees who, while typically good at their jobs, too often display unprofessional or downright obnoxious behavior. Simply tolerating such workers is a finger-in-the-dike approach, and it runs counter to two traits of good managers—leadership and decisiveness. Managers who silently put up with such behavior will undermine their own authority.

If you have good, human relationships with your people, you will have to work hard to screw up as a boss. The easiest and most common way to help relationships grow and thrive is through conversations. So, what’s a conversation?

Make any decision-making group more effective by limiting membership to seven. Once you have more than seven in the group, each additional member reduces decision effectiveness by 10%.
With employees still reeling from workplace budget cuts, now’s a great time for new team building ideas. No, you don’t need an expensive round of paintball to gain the benefits of team building exercises, but you do need to squeeze the most out of them. In this new FREE Special Report from Business Management Daily — 17 Team Building Ideas — we’ll show you how to do that.

In recent years, it’s become clear that companies are slow to adopt flexible workplace practices. Employees at award-winning workplaces continue to lament their lack of flexibility. While 80% of Americans say they want workplace flexibility, only a third report having it. There are big barriers to adopting and sustaining flexible workplace practices within an organization. We need to shift our focus from the “why” to the “how.”

Q: “Tom, a long-term employee, recently transferred into my unit. He has a reputation of being 'difficult.' On good days, he’s productive and upbeat. But on bad days, he’s critical and hostile. Unfortunately, the bad days outnumber the good days. I’ve tried to be supportive, but he’s exhausting me! What can I do?”

For Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, the journey to leadership began with a vexing problem he had personally experienced: As a walk-on player with the University of Maryland football team, he perspired a lot. So, after he finished playing with the team, he decided to find a solution to his sweat problem. His mission: to create a no-drip T-shirt.

You know the saying: One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. If you’re a manager, you may occasionally encounter a bad apple. So what does a leader do to stop “problem” employees from spreading their negative influence?

College presidents don’t like to admit it, but as cheerleaders in chief, they need charm to chat up everyone from teenagers to rich donors. Without charm, they’d be sunk.

In 2008, Imperial Sugar Company experienced an explosion at its refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga., that killed 14 workers and injured dozens of others. Three years later, the company has transformed itself, largely due to the leadership of CEO John Sheptor. "A crisis is not a time to lead from the front office," he says.

Bad managers are not consciously aware that they’re bad managers. And if they are aware of it, they’re probably not willing to admit it to anyone. Nobody wants to think they might be the problem. Here are a few clues:

Smaller organizations often have little or no budget to train their management teams. But no budget doesn’t have to mean no training. Here is a list of some of the best free online training for managers and HR professionals offered by colleges and reputable organizations ...

An old employee-relations idea has found new purpose in today’s tumultuous business environment: Employee resource groups (ERGs)—also known as affinity groups or employee networks—are on the rise in companies large and small.
If you think about it, the whole process of starting with learning the basics of any discipline and methodically working your way up to some level of mastery makes sense for undertakings far beyond Boy Scout merit badges.  It led me to consider, “If there were a merit badge for organizational leadership, what would the requirements be?”
With unemployment still floating above 9%, it’s a bit easier to find good employees. But keeping the best people never has been and never will be easy. What can you do to keep them around? A recent Harvard Business Review pointed to these key retention mistakes and solutions to fix them:
Putting the troops first: Capt. Bo Reynolds walked the talk this past Thanksgiving in Afghanistan. First, he came up with the idea of deep-frying a turkey for the Army’s 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Second, he got only a taste of the bird because he let his troops eat first ...
The challenges facing HR pros who specialize in talent, compensation and benefits are dramatically different today than they were just a year ago. At Deloitte Consulting, we call it “the talent paradox”—the apparent contradiction that occurs when unemployment is still relatively high, yet companies still are seeing significant shortages in critical talent areas.
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