Seven Leadership Practices to ChangeBusiness management is in transition as we work in a different economy and business model. Leadership styles are evolving. We’re moving from a leadership concept that places responsibility and accountability in the hands of individuals to a group leadership concept.

Paul Spiegelman, contributor to Inc. says, “The old days of command-and-control leadership are fading in favor of what might be better termed a trust-and-track method, where people are not just told what to do, but why they are doing it.”

He says we’re moving from a transactional - or managerial - leadership, to transformative leadership, or a leader focused on followers, motivating them to high levels of performance, and developing their leadership potential.

He recently wrote a post about what leadership practices to stop today. Following is his list of “old school” practices to get rid of and “new school” practices to advocate instead.

Stop Micromanaging

Instead, give your employees some control. Delegate and leverage your team so you can spend more time on the issues and activities that add the greatest value.

Stop Walking Around the Office

Not everyone works in an office setting. Remote teams are increasingly popular and we’ve talked here about how to effectively manage a remote team. Leadership where you watch, listen, engage in conversation, implement the ideas presented to you, and distribute the results is what is in says Spiegelman.

Stop Pretending You Know Everything

You don’t have all the answers, you aren’t Google. Instead, trust your leadership team members. You chose them because they have the right skills and fit the culture, so let them do their job and get out of their way.

Stop the No Tolerance Policy

Everyone makes mistakes. Even you do. Instead admit when you are wrong, and learn from your mistakes.

Stop Using the Balance Sheet to Drive Business

The balance sheet summarizes a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity at a specific point.  People drive business. They are the ones who interact with customers, boost customer loyalty, and increase profits.

Stop Just Doing the Job

You’ll probably survive if you do the job asked, but don’t you want someone on your team who will go the extra mile? While working in the “new normal,” employees are wearing multiple hats, so just doing the job asked isn’t enough anymore. As business leaders, we want to see someone who goes the extra mile. It’s better to invest in people who will help drive sales and help your businesses grow.

Stop Giving Employees Incentives

Just because you pay your team more doesn’t mean they’ll do more. Being valued means more to most people, so instead of giving your employees an incentive to get a project done, reward them once it is done and they’ve done an excellent job on it. Point them out for a job well done in front of your entire team. It means more than monetary incentives.

Business and society are changing, so it’s only natural leadership styles change too. Leading is a challenge, but simple changes can influence the results you get. Now is the perfect time to try something new.

Are you using any of these out-of-date practices?

Five Essential Business Leadership SkillsLeadership is not something that happens overnight. It takes time and practice to develop the skills needed to be successful.

There are many skills that make someone a leader let alone a great leader. Inc. shares the top five skills every leader must have.

Ability to Focus and Prioritize

If you can’t focus you can’t get work done. We are inundated with information every day. There’s the urge to text, tweet, or check email and it is all very difficult to ignore. Great leaders know how to manage distractions and can focus on the important things that affect the bottom line of their businesses.

Ability to Make Smart Decisions

Great leaders question assumptions, claims, and viewpoints. They know when to make a decision and when to proceed with caution. They accept responsibility for their decisions, both good and bad, even if it means they go down with the ship.

Genuine and Self Aware

Authentic leaders have integrity and lead their team with compassion. They truly care about their employees. They are honest and don’t sugarcoat the truth.

Ability to Communicate

The Inc. article says, “Communication has always been the means by which great leaders achieve great things. But these days, communication occurs in sound bites, status updates, text messages, and tweets of 140 characters or less.”

Great leaders don’t just bark orders. They listen to their team, customers, peers, and competitors. They know it is the best way to understand a situation so they can make the best decision.

Ability to Get Things Done

The most successful leaders get their team to work towards a common goal, satisfy their customers, and deliver on their promises.

Great leaders put others first and find ways to help people grow. To become a great leader, you need to develop the skills necessary to lead, motivate, and influence people in good and bad times.

What other traits do you look for in leaders?

Three Tips to Manage Difficult but Valuable EmployeesMany employees who are difficult can be exceptional contributors. Do you think Steve Jobs or Bill Gates would be easy to manage?

All successful leaders learn how to shift their management style to work effectively with different types of people. Personalities are unique and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.

Jeff Stibel, contributor to Harvard Business Review, wrote an article on how to manage your smartest, strangest employee. In it he provides three tips to try on employees who are difficult, but valuable.

Balance Cohesion and Creativity

Consider the project when you delegate responsibilities. For instance, give your best people something substantive and challenge them. This will use their skills and bring out their best.

However, if the employee affects the culture in a negative way, weigh the cost of keeping them around.

Limitations May Be the Same Source of Talents

An employee’s limitations might be the source of their talent. Stibel offers an example where an employee of his felt he needed to “own” a project completely.

“Once I identified his work style as a variant of entrepreneurship as opposed to a difficult employee, his productivity soared and the company benefited,” says Stible.

He suggests you give such an employee a separate project or assignment to run with in order to leverage their talent and not crush it.

Move Things Forward

Offer creative individuals enough independence to be innovative, but also move the project forward with individuals who can act.

Stibel says to organize your teams in such a way to foster innovation across them with multiple skillsets. “A company needs dialogue, but once a decision is made, a team must move forward together,” he adds.

The brightest minds can be your company’s biggest headache. Try to be a leader of people, not a manager of projects. Leaders must learn to rely on their team members to deliver results. They also need to move beyond Leadership 101, apply their knowledge and skills strategically, and make the most of their team members’ valuable qualities and skills.

Have you had a difficult but talented employee? How did you manage them?

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