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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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
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
LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.
Director of Human Resources
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
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
For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development
The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.
Vice President, Information Technology
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
Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.
VP Human Resources
We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR
I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.
Director, Business Planning & Analysis
LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.
Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.
SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO
We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics
Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.
President and Chief Executive Office
LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.
Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology
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