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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 are the top five smartest books on leadership, as chosen by Fortune magazine:
If you’re chronically angry, take these four steps to turn your leadership from negative to positive:
Both are important, but management and leadership are different, say experts Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus.
You’ve heard it before: If you’ve never failed, you’ve never really succeeded. Some of the most accomplished leaders have endured spectacular flameouts. So, deal with failure and move on. Heed these do's and don’ts:
If you want your people to feel accountable for results, you’ve got to measure their performance. One solution: Establish a performance contract with each person.
The ancient Romans built a magnificent city over a swamp because they envisioned a powerful, stable society and had the craftsmanship and discipline to make it happen. The plan’s sheer scale reveals the Romans’ larger-than-life ambitions. Use this three-part approach to make sure you’ve got enough “oomph!” behind your mission.
The landowners of Celtic Ireland elected their kings based on merit. Cormac MacAirt—known for peace, prosperity and justice during his reign as a high king in the third century— was reputed to have written books on criminal law and history as well as a famous manual for leaders.
“Leadership is not magnetic personality,” says management guru Peter Drucker.
Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo overshadows what is perhaps his biggest leadership gaffe.
Even when no one around you sees you as a leader, you can be one. That was true of Sacagawea, the lone woman and only Native American on the Lewis and Clark expedition. Although she remains a mystery, here are some of her leadership qualities, unrecognized at the time:
From the U.S. Marine Corps— leaders by definition, as its members are often the first combatants in a military offensive—here’s a checklist of leadership strategies:
Most of us have had bosses so insecure that they could never let their employees succeed. Jack Winter was such a guy. Fresh out of college, he found himself in Miami Beach on a venerable staff of comedy writers because TV celebrity Jackie Gleason had picked some of his material. As it turned out, Winter didn’t understand Gleason’s humor. What’s worse, Gleason turned out to be a tyrant. Luckily for us, we can use his memories to become better leaders. Some of Winter’s wonders:
A personal symbol can help you stay centered during tough times. Some real-world examples:
You start to think that you have to be perfect to be a leader. You have to set perfect goals, make perfect speeches, arrive at perfect decisions and motivate people perfectly. Not so. Even the greatest leaders have flaws. Sometimes very big flaws. Consider E. B. White, the legendary editor of The New Yorker.
Dennis Donovan describes his style of leadership as being an agent for change. When he joined Home Depot as an executive vice president, his goal was to put a human resources person in every store.
Management fads make employees cynical, says coach and consultant Wolf Rinke. They feel used and even abused. Eventually, they develop thick skins so they can stay sane while playing the “Let’s pretend” game during management’s next fad onslaught. To stop the insanity, Rinke points to research showing that four basic, “somewhat nonsexy” practices lead organizations to outperform their peers:
To former Pepsi executive Michael Feiner, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” written in 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen, is the greatest leadership story ever told. You know the story. An emperor acts like a fool because his subjects are too cowed to tell him the truth: that he’s been hoodwinked into wearing invisible “clothes.” So, are your people telling you the truth? Here are some reasons why they might not be, and what you can do about it:
Issue: You know how to help employees who are fired or laid off. But HR people often forget those principals when facing that
problem themselves.
Benefit: With proper planning ...
If you, as a leader, can learn anything from the Enron scandal, perhaps it’s what behavior to look for in a corrupt leadership hierarchy.
It wasn’t Babe Ruth’s ghost that the Boston Red Sox had to overcome. It was the curse of bad management.
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