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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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Greg Brenneman prefers to work for “sick” companies, or the ones in need of the most leadership. His corporate turnaround strategy sounds deceptively simple ...

If you’re contemplating a layoff, you’ve no doubt given some thought to which employees you want to let go—and which ones you absolutely must retain. But know this: Every time an organization lays off even a few employees, voluntary turnover jumps in response ...

Front-line managers are often dropped into management roles without knowing how to manage people or where to turn for advice. Yet, these are the people tasked with making customers and employees happy, and carrying out the organization's mission ...

Chiefly, you learn how to make decisions by doing. But you can also learn, says Michael Useem, director of Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, by approaching people who are good at it, watching how they do it and asking them to reconstruct the process.

You expect your managers to possess basic values, communicate clearly and act like responsible adults. But sometimes, you get a bad apple. If you’re regretting a management hire, first judge the degree of badness. A “continuum of badness” has been developed to help you.

Leadership requires hard work, daily practice and a willingness to stumble and haul yourself back into the game. Here are three component parts of leadership from established trainers.

For the leader of a company with 150,000 employees in 150 countries, Marilyn Carlson Nelson has surprisingly little ego. You would never know Forbes named her one of the world's 100 most powerful women.

Sway others by framing your issue with catchy words. Bridge the “knowing-doing gap" by understanding where you need help in making your vision a reality. Go against the grain like Warren Buffett ...

Many commentators have noted uncanny similarities between the Wall Street panics of 1907 and 2008. But one big difference stands out: In 1907, there was no Federal Reserve System or U.S. government presence. Into this vacuum stepped J.P. Morgan ...

Question: What 10 two-letter words sum up leadership?

Leadership guru Warren Bennis has strong words for top executives who fail to accept responsibility but who excel at placing blame elsewhere. When Lehman Brothers’ CEO Richard Fuld Jr. testified before a congressional panel about the bank’s downfall, he claimed to take “full responsibility” for his actions—but then he passed the buck ...

Q. How do I make my manager understand that I want more responsibility?

With exposure to catastrophes increasing, researchers are looking at ways to sharpen our response mechanisms, activate our leadership abilities and increase our odds for survival. During a disaster, survivors say almost nothing happened the way they would have expected. Here’s what we can glean from their experiences.

To make customers feel practically giddy about your company, begin by serving employees. That’s the philosophy of Colleen Barrett, president of Southwest Airlines, a company whose feel-good approach to customer service is legendary.

Leadership thinker Steven Little performs a test during hotel stays. He asks room service for a milkshake. If he’s told it’s not on the menu, he walks employees through the list of ingredients to see if they have everything. Here's why ...

When co-workers behave badly at work, step forward to develop your leadership skills.

A sudden drop in demand threatened DocuSign, an electronic-signature service. Two of DocuSign’s primary markets suddenly unraveled. CEO Matthew Schiltz could have gathered his senior managers behind closed doors to fix the problem. Instead, he invited all 40 employees to a town hall meeting, where the leadership team laid out the situation and asked for help.

Two leadership gurus would like to remind us that most problems at work are behavioral and not the result of using the wrong tools. The authors of High Altitude Leadership—one an Ivy League scientist and the other a mountaineer associated with Wharton —agree that tools are important. But they ask: Are you using the tools or are they using you?

Billie Williamson’s biggest mistake, she says, was not realizing earlier in her career that leaders are interdependent, not independent. “You need to build relationships all around you,” says the Ernst & Young partner.

Nearly two-thirds of all job-seekers rely on web sites to learn about employment opportunities, according to a Gallup Poll. Yet the career pages on many employers’ web sites remain hard to use, uninformative and so frustrating that many potential applicants simply give up and go looking elsewhere. But some organizations do get it right ...
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