What does it take to lead well? Surprisingly even in high-tech, high-powered Silicon Valley, it takes less technical know-how than it does clarity of thought and expression, a sense of what makes people tick and how to motivate them, and a willingness to ask good questions of the right people and listen well to their answers. It’s really not rocket science but it DOES take a blend of skills that may not be rare as individual traits but are infrequently encountered in the optimum mix in one person.
Here’s a list of 5 of the best practices of the best leaders:
1. Develop the culture you know can bring success.
If you want your strategy to succeed, you need to create and embrace an organizational culture that supports it. Be clear about the kind of corporate culture that aligns with your business strategy and then exert all your influence to shape it. This will involve you as a leader articulating just what values drive the organization and defining the way business will be done on a day-to-day basis. Communicating your ideal organizational culture comes first. Then you must not only model it, you need to hire the right people, reinforce the right behaviors and put processes and practices in place that ensure organizational alignment and consistency.
2. When organizational change is needed, communicate it clearly.
Not many organizations can succeed without being able to flex with and adapt to internal and external changes. But organizational change often inspires fear and decreased performance in employees. The best leaders know when change is needed and are able to deliver the message in a way that inspires, rather than demotivates, their work force. To support major organizational change of any kind, employees need to understand the rationale behind the change, know what their role will be in accomplishing the change and feel confidence that management can affect the change in a way that puts the company on a winning path. The goal is organizational effectiveness. Once that is understood, the majority will work toward the better future.
3. Facilitate more than lead.
Many leaders suffer from an over-inflated ego. They rise to the top of their organizations and begin to think they know it all, especially if they surround themselves with fawning flatterers who don’t dare to disagree. Instead, the best leaders know what they don’t know. They seek differing opinions and ask good questions. They listen carefully to answers from those they respect and are willing to change their own thinking from what they learn. Good leaders are curious, eager to grow and encourage challenging discussion to get the best results.
4. Link behavior to results.
All successful leaders need to bring in results; but the best leaders focus less on the specific results than on the critical few behaviors and leading indicators that are predictive of the desired results. In other words, it matters more in the long-term that your employees are able, committed to the goals and doing their best to achieve their objectives in a way that makes sense than the actual short-term results.
5. Use time as part of a winning strategy, not the determining factor.
All effective leaders have become masters of time management. They have to be able to set priorities and use their time wisely. However, the best leaders do not focus on time alone; they keep the big picture in mind. The goal is not to do more things in the time allotted but to do the most important things and, when time has run out, adapt the strategy to what can be accomplished within the available time frame.
In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.
Firmware Engineering Supervisor
Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.
Workforce Planning Bureau
We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.
Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources
Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region
The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.
Firmware Engineering Manager
PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.
Vice President of Human Resources
I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.
VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.
Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources
For past year LSA has provided development to a group of key individuals at our manufacturing plant who author and review technical reports. The feedback from the sessions has been extremely positive. We have seen marked improvement in the quality of output from the attendees who have taken the program. I can strongly recommend the services that LSA provides. Their facilitators are top notch and the programs are high quality. LSA offers some of the most comprehensive full service solutions available.
Leading Global Health Care Company
The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.
VP of Human Resources
LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!
Director of HR
I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.
HR Program Manager
Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.
Vice President of Human Resources
In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.
LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”
Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources
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