Twelve Leadership Practices to Help Others Excel

By Ken Wagner, Ph.D.

Leadership is all about helping others to excel. As a leader, how do you achieve that?

Here are a dozen tried-and-true techniques that successful leaders do. You can practice them every day. Some are obvious and easy, and others are harder, but they all contribute to a better-led workplace. Ultimately, all these techniques help you and everyone around you to perform better—and succeed.

Inspire

1. Always inspire.
Create an environment in which everyone works toward something, rather than working to avoid something. This inspires achievement.

 

Focus

2. Be intentional with your focus.
Every day, ask yourself, “What do I want to see and hear people doing today?” This will help you be more alert to the behaviors that matter.

 

opportunity

3. Seek opportunities to help people quickly learn critical skills.
Despite popular wisdom, people don’t learn fastest from mistakes! They learn best/quickest by repeatedly doing critical behaviors the right way—which you can show them. This is how you build good, long-lasting habits, efficiently and faster.

 

Steps

4. Focus on small, doable steps.
The road to success is simply one progressive step after another in the right direction.

 

Interactions

5. Initiate quick, intentional interactions daily.
Look for, listen for, and ask about behaviors that matter. Ask people how what they said or did produced beneficial outcomes—for them, and for the organization.

 

Positive Example

6. Ask people for positive examples.
Positive examples help you understand what they are doing, and how they are doing it, and shows that you are interested and supportive.

 

Meaning

7. Help people find meaning in their work.
Meaningful work inspires people, builds persistence, and promotes resilience.

 

Meetings

8. Hold brief, weekly meetings designed for continuous improvement.
Regularly sharing best practices, sharing learnings, and brainstorming forward-looking strategies will establish a growth mindset and help your team strive to reach the next level.

 

Reinforcement

9. Participate in skip-level reinforcement.
Use your presence to enhance the reinforcement arranged by others. Your participation as a leader in reinforcing discussions between your direct reports and their direct reports speaks loudly of your commitment to them.

 

Low Priorities

10. Minimize non-value-adds and low priorities.
These kill everyone’s time and drag down the organization. Delete, simplify, consolidate, reassign—whatever works—so supervisors can focus on their real mission: developing their teams.

 

celebrate

11. Celebrate progress.
Recognize behavior change and metrics that are trending in the right direction. Celebrate positive movement early—don’t wait until the final goal is achieved.

 

check effect

12. Always check your effect.
Assess your impact. Does it match your intent? Specifically, are people doing more of the behaviors that you want? Are they doing less of the behaviors that you want to reduce?

 

This blog was authored by Ken Wagner, Ph.D.  Ken translates human potential into business success to drive profitability, operational excellence, employee engagement, and leader performance.  His deep subject matter expertise in leader development, behavioral science, motivation, learning, and systems analysis has given him highly diverse understanding across a broad spectrum of private and public industries ranging from complex, multi-national organizations to specialized boutique companies, in more than 20 countries, across 6 continents.

 

Topics: Leadership, Operational Excellence

Ken Wagner, Ph.D.

Written by Ken Wagner, Ph.D.