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Keys to Being a Successful Leader
By Niquenya D. Fulbright, Professional Life Coach
© 2006 All Rights Reserved
The ability to bring people together to accomplish a task is a difficult talent to master. It
takes a combination of acquired skills and experience to guarantee the success of anyone
in a leadership role. An incompetent manager can have a devastating impact on an
organization. A leader with the knowledge, experience and insight necessary to ensure a
high performing and profitable organization is hard to come by. In a recent Gallup
survey, it was found that 25% of U.S. employees would fire their boss if they could. With
one out of four managers failing, it is easy to see how ineffective management decreases
employee performance and increases customer dissatisfaction resulting in a negative
affect on the organization’s bottom-line.
The art of effective management rarely presents as an inbred gift. An effective manager
must be an innovative leader who exhibits creativity, enthusiasm, confidence and an
innate respect and good will toward every individual within the organization. The
manager has to be willing to embrace new concepts and reconsider old practices in order
to unleash the potential of the team. To be an effective manager, one is required to learn
and utilize four basic management tools: coaching, feedback, counseling and discipline.
Coaching is the ongoing, informal training that confirms when an employee is doing well
and identifies potential areas of opportunity. There are five essential keys to the coaching
* Listening with sensitivity and consideration to hear what is really happening
should be your primary objective. In the coaching function, learn to use the
power of silence. An effective manager seeks first to understand, then to be
understood. This allows employees to know that you value their opinions and
keep their interests, priorities and goals in mind. Actively listening to your
employees builds trust and lets them know that you respect them as a “whole”
person. Employees will be more open and will more readily clue you in to
valuable information you may not otherwise be privy to.
* Language that demonstrates the ability to create new realities with precise types
of speech is necessary to clearly disseminate your message with the highest
likelihood of retention. Communicating effectively with appropriate language,
pitch, tone and volume is the best way to articulate company goals and objectives.
* Attitude greatly impacts your ability to produce results. Approaching employees
with a caring attitude aids in the employees being receptive and open to
communication. An abusive, hostile or even disinterested attitude directly
impacts the emotional health and productivity of employees. A manager who
displays a positive attitude in every message reinforces the employee’s belief in
their own value to the organization.
* Self-Development is the process by which managers continue to strengthen their
own skill set through continued training and value-added experiences. By being a
model of excellence, productivity and fulfillment, an effective manager
demonstrates the acceptable behaviors that set the tone for a climate of
* Leadership involves developing a clear vision and strong message which must
then be successfully communicated to the team. Your expectation of employees
and their expectations of themselves are the primary factors in how well
employees perform in the workplace. Set achievable goals and share them with
your employees so that they know what is expected of them. Delegate the
workload and set realistic deadlines. This will provide invaluable training to
employees and save on hours of unnecessary work. Utilize a time management
system that is simple, organized and efficient to track completion of tasks. Being
able to hold employees accountable is a vital function of the coaching role.
Feedback provides specific information that lets employees know how well they are
performing. Feedback can be positive or corrective. It builds employee beliefs in their
capabilities and provides them with insight into how they can improve their production.
Corrective feedback should only be given in private. Feedback should always start
positive and end positive. Never solely identify what the employee is not doing or is
doing wrong. Employees need to have their confidence reinforced through praise and
appreciation. Feedback is a two-way communication device. Allow employees to
respond to your message so they know that they are included in their own development.
One of the top complaints employers receive in regards to employee dissatisfaction is
poor to non-existent feedback and recognition. Opening the lines of communication
allows you to stay tuned in to your employees so you can be proactive in resolving
situations before they escalate. Ask SMART questions (Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Realistic and Time-based) to identify fears, problem areas or opportunities.
Counseling is a tool that shows employees what they need to improve their performance.
Point out issues in the employee's work in a calm, non-accusatory manner. Ask them
what you can do to help. Work with the employee to develop concrete goals and a
timeline for resolving the matter. If the problem is personal versus job-related, be
empathetic and offer a flexible solution to help create a synergized work/life balance.
Remember, you are not a therapist. Refer employees to the proper support groups if
necessary. Counseling measures help to reduce turnover, prevent disciplinary action and
shows that you are committed to your employee’s success.
Discipline is a necessary evil to help employees follow company rules. Disciplinary
action should be taken as a last-resort effort when previous coaching, feedback and
counseling attempts have failed. The primary goal of discipline is not to punish your
employees but rather to help guide them back to satisfactory job performance. Focus
solely on performance, remain fair and impartial. Although it is recommended to dole out
discipline as soon after the misbehavior as possible, it is equally important to make sure
that you have all the facts before you act. Improperly or unfairly holding an employee
accountable for an action without adequate investigation can lead to lowered employee
morale, loss of respect and possible lawsuits.
Effective management is more than just implementing policies and procedures. It means
getting the most out of all of your employees, helping them to perform at their best
individually, cooperatively and in groups. Managing your team effectively and
efficiently requires the willingness to learn a variety of leadership skills. An effective
manager must be able to coach, provide feedback, counsel and be comfortable in
disciplining team members. By developing your management skills you will appreciate
colossal benefits in increased productivity, decreased stress and increased confidence in
both yourself as an effective leader, as well as in the employees on your team.
|This article was submitted by - Niquenya D. Fulbright, Professional Life Coach||Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends|
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