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Principles of Leadership and Management Success

1 Apr, 2012 By: Team of Strategy Development imageSource

LeadershipLeaders ask themselves these questions: Who am I? Who are we? Where are we going? Who do we want to be? The answers will vary by person, but they will all center on one common element: people. People lead and follow, plan and execute, dream and encourage. Regardless the state-of-the-art products and solutions a business has to offer, nothing gets accomplished without good leaders guiding people.

Adopting the philosophy that, “if you take care of your business, it will take care of you,” is offered here in some realistic guidelines that are applicable not only for new managers, but seasoned ones as well.

  1. Hire the right people–don’t settle for second best; wait for the good ones. Most of your management success is directly related to the people that you have working for you. That’s the bottom line.
  2. Once you’ve invested in hiring the right people, execute an effective onboarding plan. Too often, once the new hires are on board, the mistake is made to assume that your job is done. It’s taken a lot of effort and attention to recruit the right people, and now it takes just as much effort and attention to keep them.
  3. Set your expectation level. People need to know what you expect of them. Aim high--be realistic, but challenging, in your expectations of your team. Share your vision so that everyone knows what your goals are. Repeat them over and over so that they become part of the culture.
  4. Work alongside your team – do yourself anything that you would ask of other people. Participate in their activities with them; don’t just be an office dweller. Show them what to do and how to do it. Include everyone -you are only as good as your team, and your success is dependent upon them.
  5. Give your people the tools and resources that they need to succeed. Make sure they have all the training and materials in order to do their jobs. Provide the best working environment possible. Regularly review their access to and use of resources in order to maximize their productivity.
  6. Hold people accountable to standards. They will occasionally challenge you and test the parameters, but you need to hold the line. Exceptions should be just that – exceptional and rare – otherwise; people tend to take advantage.
  7. Regularly monitor and review performance. People need honest and consistent feedback. Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and help develop their areas of opportunity. Quickly address poor performance. Likewise, receive feedback from them in a favorable manner – encourage them to discuss issues with you. Measure and tie compensation to performance!
  8. Award and recognize good performance – even the little things. People want to be appreciated and know that you care about them. Ignore (as much as possible) mediocre performance – they will learn that to get recognized they will have to perform well. Be generous with “thank you” -and have fun. Happy people are productive people.
  9. Take a personal interest in each of the people that you work with but recognize this is a fine line situation that should be undertaken with care. Remember, that you don’t hire people to be your friends – friendship comes with time and experience. So, treat everyone as individuals, but also equally.
  10. Be positive – people will look to you to see how they should behave. Your attitude will become their attitude. Smile and be cheerful – it’s contagious. Treat people with respect and they will be respectful. Focus on the positive, even in situations that are difficult.
  11. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Your team will function much better if they have all the information that they need. Understanding is critical to success. The more knowledge people have, the better they will understand the direction to go in. Make your team part of the discussion/decision process and they will take more ownership and responsibility in the results.
  12. Effectively manage change. As business needs evolve, responses to those needs create change in an organization, especially if they are customer centric. In most companies, change is “expected” but not enabled. Be sure that understanding comes before implementation, so that change is embraced rather than resisted.

A Pro-Active Team

You’ve just discovered that the best leaders communicate direction, develop their people, inspire confidence and manage change! Now learn some tips to share your vision, broaden your circle of influence, and create an atmosphere of results oriented action. An environment has to be created that will challenge your people to do their best and give them personal satisfaction. It is a critical duty of a leader to continually test to see if you are fulfilling that responsibility.

Attributed to Texas State Senator, Kirk Watson, the following tips give a leader the ground rules for problem solving and guiding a pro-active team.

  1. Be willing to throw away labels. And we often do label each other – whether it’s friends or acquaintances – far too readily. Your goal is to work with all members of the organization, without regard to labels. Be hopeful – with good reason – that they will approach you the same way.
  2. Listen carefully and speak plainly. The key is to really listen, and to openly state a position. Often organizations are filled with people talking past one another or regurgitating platitudes. The best work comes from speaking openly, really listening, and avoiding pre-packaged talking points.
  3. Follow the “83% Rule”. If you can come up with something that 83% of the organization would reply, “That’s not exactly how I’d do it, but it’s progress,” then you should probably go for it. You won’t always get unanimity, and if you wait to act until you get 100% support, there likely will be no action.
  4. Be biased toward action. Too often in the business world, people seem to fear failure, or the possibility that they’ll be upstaged by the next idea that comes along. It’s better to make a mistake by trying something than to make a mistake by missing an opportunity.
  5. Never forget that hope matters. Leadership should have goals of assuring hope and creating opportunity for happiness.
  6. Have a short term focus with a long term vision. Tomorrow often comes sooner than you plan. So, try to focus on achieving results right now, but in a way that benefits the long term. Both of those – the present moment, and the future – are essential, but too often people lose track of one or the other.
  7. Know core values and assets, and be willing to admit weaknesses. Try to assess your values, assets, and weaknesses routinely. Clearly, beginning a new professional role is a time to take that sort of stock. And, remember, if you learn from your mistakes, every failure can be turned into a success.
  8. Handle the nitpickers, naysayers and know-it-alls (okay, so maybe there are a few good labels). You know, those folks who kill good ideas by picking them to death, and who would love to tell you how much smarter they are. It isn’t called “negative energy” for nothing! Learn to manage this type of activity by seeking to understand their viewpoint, and educating them on your point of view.
  9. Create new and different constituencies & avoid creating unnecessary enemies. Try to look at an idea or position from another person’s point of view. It’s worth it when you can tweak a proposal to bring everybody – or, at least, 83% of everybody – on board.
  10. Enjoy the service of being a leader. Too many people in business today seem angry -- maybe it’s easier to get cynical. But, the motivation for leadership shouldn’t be anger. Being a leader ought to be fulfilling and not a burden (at least not most of the time).

In today’s competitive business climate, a motivated workforce is vital for any organization seeking good results. By using these simple tips, you will create an environment in which people will want to follow your leadership, trusting in your judgment. Your team will be motivated, they will understand the needs of the business, possess a healthy but competitive spirit, and respond to your guidance.

About the Author: Team of Strategy Development

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