Monday, July 7, 2008

4 Great Leadership Tips For the Effective Manager

Any good manager should always be trying to improve and develop himself. Check out these 4 great tips based on my own experiences of leading.

There is nothing worse than an incompetent manager. Wait a minute...there is! An incompetent manager who refuses to learn! Any good manager should be constantly on the lookout for ways to improve. So let's take a look at 4 tips that will help you to become a better leader.

Learn To Let Go

Too many new leaders struggle to get to grips with not having everything in their control like it used to be when they worked on their own. Back then they would be given a task and they could control every single aspect of it to make sure that a good job was done.

As a leader, you simply can't do that. If you attempt to "micro-manage" in this way then you will work some very long hours and burn out. You'll also have totally missed the point of being a leader and a manager.

Instead, you should trust your workers and when you give them tasks to do, make it clear what you expect. When they deliver as you wish, show your gratitude to them and be sure to think about long term rewards for continued success.

Be Ethical

A leader must be ethical. If you have previously bent the rules, here and there, then do not be tempted to do it as a leader. The damage done if or when you are exposed will be ten times worse than before.

As a leader, you must set a positive example and even if some rules appear to hinder rather than help, you must abide by them at all times.

If you start to bend the rules then your workers will see it and lose respect for you. What's more, they will also think that they too can get away with bending the rules. Soon you'll have a huge can of worms!

Don't Be Pushy

As a leader, your reputation is of paramount importance. Do not be pushy with people - don't berate your workers in public and don't become known for a fiery temper during meetings.

Do this and you will soon bury any alliances that you had and find yourself isolated.

Instead, you should become known for your cool exterior and your ability to take action based on logic, not emotions.

Persevere

Most people, when setting out to achieve a goal, will fall at the first obstacle and then give up. Real leaders will not give up. They will fall, get up, fall again and get up again.

Only by persevering and staying on the right path will you be able to achieve your own goals and those of your team.

Setting an example like this has another benefit - this quality is infectious and before you know it, your entire team will be showing these same qualities and achieving far more than other similar teams in your organization.

1 comment:

Ben Simonton said...

I like your tips and have a few more because managers must know what leadership is and how they can lead in the wrong direction or in the good direction, their choice.

Leadership applies to people and denotes the sending of value standard messages to people which most of them then follow/use. Thus we say that they have been "led" in the direction of those standards. Leadership is one side of the coin called values, the other side being followership.

Leadership in the workplace consists of the value standards reflected in everything that an employee experiences because these standards are what employees follow by using them to perform their work. Most of what the employee experiences is the support or lack thereof provided by management - such as training, tools, parts, discipline, direction, material, procedures, rules, technical advice, documentation, information, etc.

Leadership is not a process any manager can change. It happens inexorably every minute of every day because how people follow. The only choice available to a manager is the standard (good, bad, mediocre or in between) which people will follow.

For instance, the top-down command and control technique is a widely used method by which to manage people. Top-down concentrates on producing goals, targets, visions, orders and other directives in order to control the workforce and thereby achieve organizational success. Concentrating on giving direction prevents these managers from doing much of anything else.

Thus top-down treats employees like robots in the "shut up and listen, I know better than you" mode, and rarely if ever listens to them. By so doing this approach ignores every employee's basic need to be heard and to be respected. This approach also makes top management ignorant of what is really going on in the workplace thus making their directives misguided at best and irrelevant at worst.

In top-down, nobody listens to employee ideas, nobody values their opinions, and nobody gives them any recognition. The only way that the workforce can deal with managers who treat them in this way is to disengage and ignore their behavior. In the workplace this is seen as being sullen, uncommunicative, having a poor attitude, low morale and/or apathy.

(During my first 12 years of managing people, I used top-down and was never aware of how bad my leadership was. It was not until I started really listening to employees that I began to understand.)

In this way and others, top-down demeans and disrespects employees sending them very negative value standard messages. The standards reflected in this treatment "lead" employees to treat their work, their customers, each other and their bosses with the same level of disrespect they received.

This is the road to very poor corporate performance as compared to the results that would be achieved using a better approach. Top-down managers are their own worst enemies because they “lead” employees to the very worst performance. (In “The Human Side of Enterprise”, author Douglas McGregor named this “Theory X” and named the other extreme “Theory Y”, but he did not provide how to achieve it.)

If you want your employees to produce very high performance, swing to the other end of the spectrum thus leading toward the highest possible performance. To do this, first get rid of all traces of a top-down approach. Everyone wants to do a good job, but don't want to be ordered around like a robot.

Next, start treating employees with great respect and not like robots by listening to whatever they want to say when they want to say it and responding in a very respectful manner. Responding respectfully means resolving their complaints and suggestions and answering their questions to their satisfaction as well as yours, but most importantly theirs. It also means providing them more than enough opportunity to voice their complaints, suggestions and questions. Spend your time making your support reflect the very highest standards of all values by resolving their complaints and suggestions.

And realize that the highest quality and most respectful "direction" is the very least since no one likes to take orders or really needs them except in emergency situations. Anyone routinely needing extensive orders should not be on your team.

This treatment leads employees to treat their work, their customers, each other and their bosses with great respect. Listening and responding respectfully also inspires them to unleash their full potential of creativity, innovation and productivity on their work giving them great pride in it and causes them to love to come to work.

You will be stunned as I was by the huge amount of creativity, innovation and productivity you have unleashed. To learn how I escaped top-down after using it for 12 years, read an Interview of me

Best regards, Ben
Author "Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed"

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