Eight Leadership Principles You Can’t Ignore
By Timothy F Bednarz
Effective leadership is the result of acting according to reliable practices as well as intuition. Managers as leaders use sound management and leadership principles to guide and direct their actions and activities. They know where they want to go and what specifically needs to be done in order to get there, and that each particular step needs to be carefully considered as to the consequences associated with specific actions and decisions.
There is a difference between managers who lead and those who supervise. Leaders use sound management and leadership principles as tools to help them achieve their goals and objectives. More traditional managers often attempt to use their authority to protect their “turfs” with little or no regard for the people they are responsible for.
Managers as leaders are driven by a vision of what they want to accomplish. They always have their “eye on the prize” and know just where they want to go and why. They work through their employees using their own passion as a strong motivational tool, demonstrating the possibilities of what all can achieve together.
Managers as successful leaders must be enthusiastic and positive in all of their actions and interactions. This is demonstrated by the use of the following key leadership principles:
Planning has suffered with the inception of many 90s management fads. Many in the now defunct dot-com companies proclaimed that planning was an obsolete management function. The accepted view was that circumstances change too quickly to be effectively planned for. They fully believed that it was better to be reactive rather than proactive. The failure of this theory was evident in the bursting of the dot-com bubble.
Good leaders know their success is founded on solid management principles-including planning. They also understand that things are always in flux and changing, and they plan accordingly to anticipate what must be done to accommodate particular changes. They take the necessary time to frequently modify their plans to bring them into line with actual conditions.
Managers as leaders must understand how to apply and use organizational matrixes to gauge and measure their personal time, efforts and resources as well as those of their employees. Matrixes allow for simultaneous monitoring of various organizational activities across multiple levels.
Effective organizational management provides leaders strategic control over their areas of workplace responsibility. One of their major roles is to manage employees and make certain they are producing ongoing results. Managers are also responsible for the various behaviors and outcomes of the people they manage. This can only be accomplished through effective organizational practices and methods.
Managers who lead must be exceptional motivators. They must learn how to effectively use their passions and visions to attract and motivate others. But as motivation is not enough, they must also use ideas, conceptions and actions to stimulate their employees’ thinking and stretch their capabilities. They must make it a point to understand the individuality of everyone they manage and apply different techniques to stimulate and motivate each in the most effective manner.
Leaders are always mindful of the power that information has on their personal ability to perform effectively. Today, too many managers are awash in information, while starving for expertise.
Leaders must be able to distill the vast flow of information into usable metrics and data, which makes it easier to understand what is happening within their organizations. Detailed informational input should actively support all key management metrics and help keep ongoing tabs on every aspect of employees’ important activities. Accessing particular information only when it is required without excessive daily review allows them the freedom to manage effectively without being bogged down by information overload.
Leaders must also understand the need for the free-flow of information between superiors, associates and employees. This allows for effective management and communication on all levels.
Time is a limited resource, and managers must be able to use it wisely. They need to employ time-saving techniques such as delegation and empowerment to free themselves from tasks and assignments others can just as easily see to. They should look at every activity to determine whether or not it moves them closer to their goals and vision. Activities that do not fit this criterion should either be delegated or dispensed with.
To be competitive and gain an organizational advantage, managers as leaders must create and develop new ideas and concepts. They should always be looking for new and better approaches and for ways to accomplish more with less. A good way to identify and implement ideas, methods or concepts is to brainstorm with associates or employees to determine ways to gain even the smallest marketplace advantage.
Managers as leaders must understand that maintaining and nurturing customer relationships has considerable organizational value. As nothing can be taken for granted, repeatedly meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations becomes a top priority. When customer satisfaction is achieved, value is delivered. Managers must incorporate the fact that there will be no compromise on value into their vision statement. Satisfied customers make their professional existence possible.
Effective managers know it takes little extra time and effort to do things right the first time, while carelessness wastes a great deal of time and valuable resources. All organizations have limited resources and managers must work hard to maximize return on investments with those assigned to them. They must make it a point to always look for ways to increase their organizational efficiency, productivity and profitability.
Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. is the author of the 125 books included in Pinpoint Skill Development Training Series. He has also authored “Great! What Makes Leaders Great,” which was selected by “Foreword Review Magazine” as one of the top ten career books published in 2011, as well as a finalist in the “2011 Foreword Review Book of the Year Awards.”
Excerpt: Leadership: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011).