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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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Become an effective networker even if you’re an introvert, writes Devora Zack, author of Networking for People Who Hate Networking ... Know when to use—and when to skip—skycaps while traveling ... Track your personal spending with two free online tools ... Give your “audience”—the people around you—a new, great story.

Your office probably relies on the integrity of its people and its computer systems to secure sensitive information. But is that enough? In an office where sensitive information is at risk, make the “rules of trust” more visible. Joe Larocca, an asset protection advisor, offered these tips on Retail’s Big Blog:

Before you try turning your organization around, make sure leaders throughout the ranks are fully on board. Without their support, you may not achieve the performance goals you seek.

What’s the most satisfying reward you can receive for a job well done? Respondents to a “SmartPulse” survey, conducted by Smart-Brief on Leadership, were roughly split three ways:

How to seize opportunities? The best we can do is make informed guesses and take our chances; the main obstacle being that poor leadership tends to perpetuate itself, eroding an organization’s capacity to act. Western Union provides a striking example: It turned away Alexander Graham Bell's offer to produce the telephone.
No one is immune to resentment, but it’s been said that holding onto a grudge is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die. Instead of focusing on what you would change in somebody else, turn your attention to what needs to change in you. First steps:
Research conducted decades ago still offers insights into how leaders operate. Kurt Lewin’s 1939 study of leadership styles led the researchers to establish three basic types: 1. Authoritarian. 2. Participative or Democratic. 3. Delegative or Laissez Faire.
Thanks to the readers of my blog, I've collected an excellent list of things to do if you're a leader who wants to create a culture of fear in your organization. Not that the readers and commenters are suggesting that you actually do these things. With the idea in mind that a good way to learn leadership is to do the opposite of what really crappy leaders do, here is an edited list of readers' suggestions:

As an executive in the financial services industry for more than 40 years, Bob MacDonald noticed that too often, job applicants looked at ethics as nothing more than a set of rules. They would meet the minimum ethical standard just to get by. So he founded Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm to teach children that ethical people do the right things even when they aren’t required.

In the workplace and the sporting world, teams that buy into their coach’s vision have a much better chance of success. How can you get your team all working toward the same goal—your goal? Start by following these four steps to build support:

Two University of Virginia leaders weigh in on what books you might want on your leadership bookshelf. Here are suggestions from Harry Harding, dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and Debbie Ryan, UVA’s women’s basketball coach for 35 years:

“It is too easy to let the person with great presentation or language skills buffalo you into thinking that they are better or more knowledgeable than someone else who might not necessarily have that particular set of skills,” says Robert W. Selander, who recently stepped down as CEO at MasterCard. Lesson: Don’t let style distract you from substance.

Keith Cowing, a software entrepreneur who has worked for Goldman Sachs and Lockheed Martin, respects the discipline, tenacity and elite performance of Navy SEALs and believes we can learn a lot from them. Here are seven lessons from the SEALs, whom Cowing notes are able to unleash military firepower on groups 10 times their size:

Moving on up can be thorny if you’re not prepared to make the transition from a peer to a supervisor. David Peck, aka “The Recovering Leader,” offers six things to consider during and after a promotion:

Take every internal discrimination complaint seriously—and take quick action, too. Why? If the employee doesn’t think your response was adequate, an EEOC complaint will probably follow. And that can spell big trouble if the EEOC decides to expand its investigation beyond the specifics of the original complaint.

Help a team inch closer to perfect solutions by starting a failure contest. Why? It lets your people know that it’s better to unleash their creativity, even if the result isn’t ideal. Ask them to come up with the most outrageous idea, instead of the safest. Those risky “failures” may push them toward a breathtaking innovation—separating your company from the also-rans.

James Laychak’s brother Dave died at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Every day afterward, Laychak would wait for information and share his grief with others at the Pentagon’s family assistance center. Later, when he was named president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, which needed $30 million, Laychak brought all his skills to the task.

Build a name for your company by delivering Zappos-style customer service ... Keep agreements with partner companies going strong—and avert contract breaches—by keeping lines of communication open ... Make your e-mail messages easy to read and respond to by limiting them to one topic per message ... Fill your innovation pipeline by eavesdropping on your customers.
Some days, you have to look long and hard to find examples of inspirational leadership in the news. That’s not the case if you’ve read how the 33 Chilean miners trapped in a collapsed copper mine since early August have organized themselves to survive. Here’s what we can learn from them:

A recession has a way of changing the way businesses do business. HR is no exception. Here are three effective strategies for HR pros to consider as the economy recovers and their organizations permanently adopt the cost- and time-effective strategies they have embraced out of necessity over the past couple of years:

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