, , , , , ,

10 Actions You Should Take Now to Be a Successful Leader

You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live
long enough to make them all yourself. — Sam Levinson
I’ve interviewed over 450 government and contractor managers over the last fifteen years as part of a business growth assessment process. Besides getting to know a lot of sincere dedicated individuals, I’ve been able to reach some conclusions as to which management behaviors seem to contribute to more effective leadership and positive results. Of course, like many things in life, these are easier written than done.
1. Listen 75% and talk 25%. There is a good reason we have two ears and one mouth. You will learn much more by paying attention to others than hearing your own voice.
2. Be open to new ideas (see #1). It’s difficult to think outside of the box when you’ve been successful doing things a certain way. But, keeping up with a rapidly changing workplace and market has become a critical management skill. A willingness to go outside your comfort zone is not a luxury item.
3. Take the time to identify clear measurable business objectives. It’s hard to get somewhere without a roadmap. Keep track of your group’s progress so you can make the necessary course corrections and give effective timely feedback.
4. Don’t constantly change priorities (as tempting as this may be). It drives everyone crazy! Of course, there are times when plans need to be altered but try to keep this to a minimum.
5. Clarify lines of authority so staff members know who is responsible for what. There are few things more frustrating to your subordinates than not knowing who can give direction and who can’t. And as the person in charge, make sure you don’t sabotage the organization by ignoring proper communication channels.
6. Don’t put off important decisions – take some time to reflect and study but then fish or cut bait. Some people tend to overthink while others jump to hasty conclusions. A solid decision-making process will alleviate either of these tendencies.
7. Pay attention when an employee is talking to you. He or she is more important than your iPhone. The ability to multitask can be a real strength. On the other hand, it can demotivate someone who has something important to communicate to you.
8. Keep your head out of the sand. Make the changes everyone else knows you need to make but have been avoiding. Managers who avoid implementing uncomfortable changes may still stumble into success but not without doing considerable collateral damage to the organization. For instance, leaving a poor performing employee in a job they aren’t qualified for isn’t doing anyone a favor.
9. Have meaningful respectful dialogue with those people who aren’t like you or who you don’t like. It will result in impressive results. If you only surround yourself with people who see things your way, you will miss opportunities for growth and blind yourself to potential problems. Expand your ability to communicate with all kinds of people with compassion.
10. Identify and control risk. It takes a lot less effort and resources to mitigate a risk before it becomes an issue. It requires self-discipline to stay on top of all the major technical, management and cost risks. Too few managers take the time to anticipate them. But the alternative is much more painful in the long run.
Mike Lisagor founded Celerity Works in 1999 to help executives accelerate and manage growth. He can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply