Leadership Techniques: Seven Leadership Secrets to Being the Outstanding Leader Everyone
Wants to Follow
By Ed Sykes
In this changing,
challenging, and competitive workplace we can’t overestimate the importance of
good management. Good managers will consistently motivate you to perform at
higher levels of productivity. Bad managers will drive you crazy and
eventually out of the organization. Managers with poor skills will frequently
produce the following results:
Increased human resources
Increased customer service
The following are seven
secrets to being the “perfect” leader everyone want to work for:
Leadership means Creating a Vision
The best leaders not only assign tasks or monitor
performance. They plan for the future and motivate others to see the same
vision so they can all thrive to accomplish that vision.
Instead of dwelling on limited problems, the perfect leader
looks at the big picture. They live the organization’s mission and implement,
motivate, and dedicate all their efforts to accomplishing the mission.
During hundreds of team building and leadership workshops,
I have asked the following simple question:
What is your organization’s mission statement?
If there are forty participants in the workshop,
thirty-seven will look down at their desk, one participant will make a feeble
attempt at reciting what he/she “thinks” is the mission statement, one
participant will make a pretty good attempt and recite the first one or two
sentences of the mission statement, and finally one student will volunteer to
run to the office (or car) to grab a copy of the statement to bring back to the
workshop. Out of the thousands of workshop participants I have asked this
question, only three knew their mission statement word for word. The amazing
part of this is that many of these workshop participants have been with their
organization 5-10-20+ years and, they still didn’t know their mission statement.
So my question is this:
How do you lead your
employees to accomplish your organization’s mission if you (as a manager) don’t
know what the mission is?
The perfect leaders live, eat, sleep, and shower with their
mission statement. They know exactly what the mission is and understand its
importance to the team they lead and to the organization. Most importantly,
they communicate the mission statement to their employees at meetings, coachings,
feedback sessions, and even corrective actions. Their actions are related to
accomplishing the goals of the mission statement and can communicate the vision
of the organization.
– Take the mission statement out of the dark corner in the office. Print the
mission statement and its vision on the top of your meeting agenda and recite it
at the beginning of the meeting. Then talk about how the employees are helping
to realize the goals, values, and vision of the mission.
Leadership means understanding employees needs
As the old saying goes, “You can’t please all of the people
all of the time.” However, the perfect leader realizes that to be effective,
they must cater to the needs of most of the team. Good leaders realize that the
work environment is not a popularity contest or, as I say, “Leadership is not Pleasership.” The perfect leader treats all employees with respect
consistent in their actions and words.
At the same time, they recognize the unique needs of their
employees and use that knowledge for motivation to achieve a common goal.
Leadership means communicating concisely and clearly
Poor communication skills are probably the Number #1 reason
managers fail. If they can’t talk to and connect with their employees, they are
not serving the needs of the staff.
What is good communication? The following are some
Communicate job expectation and standards
feedback to employees.
acknowledge feedback from employees on decisions that effect them (and take the
time to listen to them).
mission (see Secret #1) on an ongoing basis.
“bad news” in a honest and timely manner.
using language that shows a positive expectation.
a combination of methods: person-to-person, e-mail, phone, and meetings.
Leadership means finding Common Ground
Some managers don’t understand they are in the people
business and lack the patience to work and develop their team members. I even
had supervisor during a coaching and mentoring workshop make the following
statement to me at break:
“If I knew I had to
communicate with my team I would have never taken the job.”
What did this person think? True leaders understand that
their employees’ success is their success. They comprehend during this journey
that some employees will need assistance, coachings, motivation, feedback, and
discipline. Good leaders will work to find common ground with each staff member
so that everyone wins. Perfect leaders will understand that some employees will
need consistent managing, and others will need less managing; some employees need
refocusing, while others will be very focused, etc. Perfect leaders recognize
the need to find common ground with each person.
Leadership means taking others to a new level
Perfect managers are concerned with their staff’s
professional advancement and do everything possible to help staff members
develop their capabilities. These leaders “see the employees for what they can
become, not what they are now.” The leaders’ actions might range from improving
specific aspects of job performance, to delegating special assignments, to
developing an action plan for promotions. Perfect leaders must have the ability
to assess the strengths and weaknesses of employees and use that to coach for
Ideally the basis for improvement combines the best
interest of the organization and the employee. Many times I am brought into
organizations to assist them with this need:
“I have managers retiring, and
we have no one to replace them.”
These organizations have created a “talent black hole,”
because they didn’t implement a plan to “help others improve” and be ready to
step up to when needed. Remember, you can always replace a chair, a desk, a
computer. But you can’t always replace a talented employee if you don’t have a
plan in place to develop others to take their place when the time comes.
Leadership means believing in your staff
Recently, I was presenting the concerns of an employee
workshop to management of an organization at their staff meeting. One manager
looked at the report and questioned me as to whether the employees really
mentioned the items in the report. I assured the manager the employees did. To
that the manager answered in the meeting, “This must mean we have smart
employees.” Little did this manager realize that he had a negative attitude
toward his employees. Through his subconscious mind, he is showing his
employees, through words and actions, that he doesn’t believe in his staff.
Perfect leaders believe in the best qualities of their
employees. They believe their employees are smart enough
to handle tasks and find solutions to challenges if given the correct guidance
This comes with earned trust from past performances and the
investment by the leaders to ongoing shared coachings and feedback to give the
employees the experience and skills to succeed in the future.
Leadership means integrity is best
It is important that employees feel they can trust the
managers’ words and actions. This means honesty, fairness, and consistency when
interacting with employees. If employees share in private a confidential
sensitive subject with their mangers in the morning, this must not be known
throughout the organization that afternoon. Or if the managers promise to give
employees an answer by the end of the day and never get back to the employees,
the managers’ integrity is destroyed.
The best leaders realize their word is their bond and that
actions speak louder than words. Perfect leaders work at being honest, open,
and reliable everyday.
Take the time starting today
to apply these seven leadership skills; and you, too, can be a “perfect” leader.
Suggested leadership reading:
Seven Secrets to
Being the Leader Everyone Wants to Follow
Five Secrets to Becoming the Perfect Employee
That Everyone Wants – Part One
Have You Appreciated Someone Today?
Nine Ways Johnny Carson Can
Help You Run Outstanding Meetings
You Mean I Need to
Promote Myself to Get a Promotion? 5 Promotion Secrets to Get the Job You Want!
Five Secrets to
Gaining Credibility with Your Team for Outstanding
How Appetizing Is
Your Feedback? (5 Steps to Giving Effective Feedback)
Ten Techniques for
Motivating Others Through Chaos
Action Steps to Motivate Yourself to Great Accomplishments
Eight Ways to Motivate
Delegate to Accelerate Success
(How to Prepare
Yourself and Others for Success)
Appreciate to Motivate
(The Key to Successful Team Building)
Greatest Gift of All - The Gift of Empowerment
Leadership Secrets for Challenging Times
Ten Quick Tips for Outstanding
Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" Will Help You Get
Your Point Across! (Yes you can, here's the plan!)
How to Set Boundaries and Say No