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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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Save time by storing “canned responses” on Gmail for commonly asked questions ... Halt interruptions by giving your physical space a makeover ...  Turn voice-mail messages from your mobile, home or work phone into e-mail messages ... Earn the mantle of “too valuable to lose”...

Say your CEO tasks you with cutting HR department costs. You know technology can help slay that cost dragon, but you have no idea where to start. Instead of combing through hundreds of vendor web sites, use these nonbiased resources to search for the right HR tech products.

The former USS Benfold commander is a font of advice on leading a self-contained group, gleaned from his early days aboard an “ugly bucket” through his current studies of leadership. Capt. Michael Abrashoff operates by respecting his staff and taking necessary risks. Here, at random, are three of his approaches to leading:
Navy captain Ed Gantt teaches Junior ROTC at a Maryland high school, where he asked a dozen students to serve as color guards at Andrews Air Force Base. “Is there anyone willing to take this responsibility?” asked Gantt.
Evidence is mounting that raw talent isn’t enough to propel growth. For that, you need a mindset that if people learn, they can grow.

You need both common sense and humility to send your people into the unknown. Adapt this 10-point checklist to keep them moving forward:

Any organization, regardless of size, will do better in most instances by cultivating leaders from within. Employees who are properly engaged, developed, promoted and compensated will be poached less often, and if they’re well trained, they will have knowledge and instincts no one from the outside can match ...

Vision can be tough to come by. You need to know where you’ve come from, whom you admire and what you value. What matters most and what are you determined to accomplish? Meet these criteria and you’re there.

Bernard Pettis, who is black, worked for R.R. Donnelley as a materials handler, loading skids for press operator Tim Cain. Whenever Cain, who is white, helped Pettis seal the skids, he would smash Pettis’ hands under the top board, then laugh and tell co-workers, “I got his hands,” or “Ooh, look at him.”

As a child, Helen Greiner became captivated with R2-D2 in “Star Wars.” When she discovered that the little robot was only an actor in a can, she vowed to make it come alive. Greiner has kept her vow with iRobot, the company she co-founded that supplied PackBots to search the World Trade Center ruins and later to detect bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna was both loved and loathed, famous and infamous. In war, he proved courageous and tenacious, yet many of the people he conquered described him as vindictive, despotic, rash and vain. He dubbed himself the “Napoleon of the West”...

When it comes to delegating, e-mail often is the last thing a leader lets go of. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, believes you can remove yourself from the inbox entirely to gain valuable time. Here’s how he does it.

You probably know the pride and thrill of playing with OPM—other people’s money. Chances are, though, you wouldn’t abdicate your responsibility to those people, ignore advice and muse aloud about your own situation while losing all their money. It’s the opposite of leadership. Welcome to the world of Freddie Mac and its former CEO, Richard Syron.

As health insurance costs skyrocket, even as benefits dwindle, so does the trend toward employers setting up wellness programs—71% of U.S. employers offered such programs in 2008. Here’s how to make the case for establishing a wellness program in your workplace, plus initial steps to put the plan in motion.

Scores of organizations are looking for the next big thing. But in a survey of 247 senior executives, only 50% believe their organizations are “top in class” in innovation. How can you drive higher levels of innovation? For starters, look toward experts in the field ...

In case you were clinging to the idea that leaders fly solo, new evidence indicates they don’t. Research shows that leadership teams are four times as important as individual leaders in developing strategy.

Most leaders think strategy drives leadership. “The fact is, culture eats strategy for lunch,” says Dick Clark, who took over the pharmaceutical firm Merck in 2005 and discovered an insular, ivory tower culture ...

Combat stifling bureaucracy by coaching or removing indecisive managers, advises Ram Charan, co-author of Execution. “You know who they are,” he tells BusinessWeek ...

Sometimes, employees who do great at one job lay an egg when promoted up the org chart. When that happens, and you find you have to terminate the employee, be sure to document exactly what went wrong. Otherwise, the employee may sue, claiming some sort of discrimination ...

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