5 Best Practices for Leading Best

5 Steps to Better Leadership

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.

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I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

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We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

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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.

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The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

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