By Marcel Schwantes
While these strategies are by no means a be-all, end-all solution to your leadership challenges, they will shortcut your way to improving on specific situations.
Basically, if I could boil down most leadership books into a pithy collection of uber-practical tips you can apply over a month’s period, I would choose these thirty. Happy growing!
30 ways to improve your leadership in 30 Days:
1. Listen to everyone in your organization and figure out ways to get them talking, providing input and sharing/debating ideas.
2. Remember the people closest to the customer are the ones who know what’s really going on. Find out what they know.
3. Be willing to work across teams and gain the support of others. That means building relationships with people outside of your immediate network.
4. Make sure to line up your actions with your words.
5. Don’t favor certain people and ignore others. It creates division and opposition. Rather, leverage everyone’s strengths to achieve your team’s goals.
6. When confronting others, do it privately, not publicly. And do it as soon as possible.
7. Stop looking over people’s shoulders. Grant employees autonomy and let them take ownership of the outcomes, as they achieve growth along the way.
8. Communicate everything you can to your people. The more they know, the more they’ll understand. The more they understand, the more they’ll care. And once they care, there’s no stopping them.
9. Write personal thank-you notes to your employees. Leaders can energize team members by letting them know how grateful they are for their people’s work.
10. Find brilliant people to run your company, give them a lot of freedom to make mistakes, and don’t second-guess them.
11. Take an interest in others as people. Make everyone feel included.
12. Foster collaboration and positive relationships by looking out for each other. When people feel unified, they’re not afraid to have unfiltered debate that leads to innovation.
13. Remember the saying, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” People want to know how well they’re doing. Good leaders always provide ongoing feedback.
14. Help others to succeed, grow, and learn new skills. It should be every leader’s motto to embrace the full potential of their workers’ capability.
15. Leaders know their people’s needs. Speak to the needs of people first.
16. Make sure people know what their goals are and do everything possible to support, encourage, and coach them to accomplish those goals.
17. Give people ownership of projects or tasks — and the freedom to achieve them in their own way.
18. Offer employees access to many different kinds of information.
19. Offer informal and timely feedback rather than performance reviews.
20. Be very specific about what you praise. Never say, “Good job” and walk away. Wait for something specific to praise beyond ordinary performance.
21. Follow through with action if you make a promise, even if the action ends up being an explanation of why the promise can’t be enacted.
22. Don’t be afraid to talk about failure, challenges that need to be worked through, or the context of why decisions were made. Be honest, communicate bad news as well as good news. Bottom line: Be truthful always.
23. Be an active listener. Walk your four corners. Keep an open mind to others’ ideas. Be accessible. And get your ego out of the way.
24. Make sure that everyone knows in advance why meetings are called. Set ground rules that create an “attack-free” safe haven for dialogue.
25. Respond, don’t react.
26. Keep your team up-to-date. Let employees know how their work is helping to support and advance an important project or the bigger picture.
27. Focus on what matters and prioritize furiously. As Steve Jobs once said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. It’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”
28. Before you jump to conclusions (and confrontations), start with the assumption that others may have acted with the best of intentions — and that you might not know the whole story.
29. Have feedback loops and constantly be thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing better.
30. Finally, be willing and able to love your employees. As legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, once said, “Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual. This is the strength of any organization.”