6/13/12

Leadership Best Practices

Best Practices (Part 5)


The current political race brings a lot of opportunity to look at best practices for leadership, communications and platform support.  While I have very specific thoughts, views and preferences, this is not the place to share, so let’s look for lessons that can be applied to business.

Every company leader has a business position that has similarities to a Presidential campaign.  While you may not be seeking election, how you conduct yourself and the leadership you bring to the business certainly will determine the viability of your company, business and indeed your position.

Best Practice # 1 – Decide to be a leader. Being a leader is a decision not an appointment.  A leader recognizes that the job includes many tasks, comes with plenty of risk and, most importantly of all, requires the ability to gain followership and move that followership along the path that aligns to the objectives of the company.  

Best Practice # 2 – Be decisive. You are expected to make decisions in terms of direction, approach, methodology and with those, make a commitment to action.  You will not always make the right decision and may have to make some corrective decisions but your troops cannot march in place for very long before they make their own decisions.

Best Practice # 3 – Take action. You will be judged at the end of the day by what you did and not what you said.  Opportunity in business waits for no one.  

Best Practice # 4 – Engage. While you will never have to shake as many hands or kiss as many babies as a candidate, you do have to show a connection to your followers, your community and your business peers to gain information, share information, gain commitment and buy-in.  You have to connect.

Best Practice # 5 – Empower.  If you are the only one empowered, it does not take long to burn out or ignite the flame of competitive leadership.  The best leaders grow other leaders with aligned objectives.  Leadership and mission grow together.

Best Practice # 6 – Excite. You have to make the mission and pursuit worthy.  High energy and production come when there is excitement in the work and the accomplishment.  

Best Practice # 7 Employ. Purposeful work is a great satisfier and the successful results often spur higher production.  As you chart the path, employ others in the pursuit with meaningful positions that stretch abilities and build talent.

Best Practice # 8 – Communicate. Communications are never one way, they are an exchange.  Too many leaders feel that if they use their position as a bully pulpit and deliver their message and objectives frequently enough, it will become the thought of the masses.  That tends to bring very shallow results and high dependency as it does not fuel new thoughts, ideas and does not have any way for those to be shared.

Best Practice # 9 – Update & Validate. You have the best perspective to report on status, progress, and worthy effort.  Updates and validation are always appreciated, especially when it comes with recognition for work, attainment of goals and challenges successfully met.

Best Practice # 10 – Use timing as a tool. The absolute best in leadership understand using timing to their advantage.  Well used it is powerful.  It can be used to set pace, position, increase or decrease emphasis and build anticipation.  Timing as a tool in the style and delivery of communications, initiation of actions, launch of ideas and just about anything else a leader touches impacts the outcome. 

Imagine our companies if leadership applied the best practices needed to constantly be elected to their jobs.  They would have to build their machine to work on their behalf.  There would still be talking heads and pundits, but, just like in the campaigns, most are looking for true leadership to talk about.  In the absence of leadership gaffs and mistakes take the spotlight.

What are your best practices for leadership?  


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