Five (More) Tips on Being a Better Leader

by Francie Dalton on May 4, 2011


The other day I shared five tips on being a better leader.

But that list wasn’t complete! So here are five more tips on how you can do this.

(Remember, #s 1-5 are in the previous post.)

6. Be approachable.

An open-door policy, a suggestion box, an invitation delivered at an all-staff meeting to “come visit,” even a memo promising folksy charm isn’t the kind of approachability employees want from their leaders.

Get out there! Don’t sit back passively waiting for them to initiate contact; YOU have to do the approaching.

Institute periodic breakfasts or lunches with hierarchically segmented groups, offering open and/or issue specific agendas. Task each of your direct reports with keeping you informed about the challenges and achievements their employees.

When you later engage with those individuals, surprise and delight them with your awareness of specific details.

Resolve today to step out of your office and into the working lives of your employees.

7. Expand responsibility.

Take action to help the unfortunate, contribute to society, protect the earth, and more. Your role as leader not only requires you to model this behavior consistently, but also to foster it in others.

Resolve to be conspicuous in exhibiting a sense of responsibility for the earth and its inhabitants.

Better still: create opportunities for your employees to do likewise.

8. Create possibility.

Leaders can be so absorbed in moving people and organizations from the current state to the desired state that they fail to inquire about the “possible state.”

When was the last time you set aside time to just “wonder” together with your employees?

“What could we do if…what should we do with…what next big step…what new idea…”

Resolve to engage your employees in possibility thinking.

9. Think versatility.

Typically leaders create, apply and direct multiple types of capital simultaneously: financial, intellectual, natural, human, etc.

There is another type of capital leaders also use every day, but perhaps with less fluency: social capital.

More than just an indication of how well networked you are, this important component of your leadership portfolio reveals the ability to modify your style of leadership to be just as effective with your CTO, for example, as you are with your CMO.

Successful leaders get good at packaging their messages to elicit what they need from engineering, sales, manufacturing, finance, etc.

Resolve today to stop waiting for others to become who you wish they were, and instead, develop the versatility to work effectively with who they actually are!

10. Demand creativity.

Absent your explicit invitation for creative ideas to reduce workloads, you may never hear such ideas as reformatting deliverables, strategic abandonment, joint-venturing, portfolio workers, job sharing, virtual employment, etc.

Resolve today to invite creative ideas from your employees on how to honor work/life balance.

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Image: Infidelic via Flickr, Creative Commons

Francie Dalton, CMC, is founder and president of Dalton Alliances, Inc.and author of the recently published book Versatility. Her Washington, DC based consultancy helps the C-Suite solve business nightmares. Francie equips clients to deal with what they didn’t see coming (and shows them there’s always another way to win!). She welcomes a chance to meet you via Twitter or on LinkedIn.


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