Five Things to Help You Think Differently: Issue 8

In an effort to help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in communication, technology, and our dynamic world, we wanted to share some resources to help you think differently about the way your organization is communicating, sharing, and inspiring its constituents.

Most of us have worked in a less-than-ideal environment at least once. Maybe it was because you sat by a drafty window, but more likely the cause may have been ineffective leadership. Becoming an effective leader doesn’t happen overnight, nor is everyone destined to be in a leadership position. Think of a manager you’ve worked with and identify what made that person an effective leader. The answers may have included: s/he was highly engaged, inclusive, caring, responsive, or empathetic. For this month’s Five Things, we’re helping you lead the way in 2014.

1. From expectations to results

Employees expect a lot from leaders. After all, these are the people running your company and making decisions that influence you. Leaders hold a position of trust. As you head into a new year, think about what you want to see in your workplace leaders. Forbes has some helpful suggestions for what you should expect from a good leader.

2. Building a culture of excellence

While a company’s culture doesn’t rest on one person’s shoulders alone, its leadership is primarily responsible for setting a tone that will encourage everyone to do their best work and continue to grow. These six key lessons will help leaders cultivate a culture of excellence.

3. What NOT to do

We’ve identified some traits of successful leaders, but what about identifying characteristics of a less than effective leader? Maybe that one terrible boss still sticks with you years later. I personally can still recall how I felt a decade ago, when dealing with a particularly poor manager. An effective leader must maintain a level of self-awareness about how his or her behavior and actions impacts the performance of others. Don’t let yourself fall into these traps.

4. Shhhhh…Leadership takes listening

No one likes to be talked over, ignored, or argued with about every little issue. I am willing to bet that your image of an ideal leader does not include someone who does any of those things. An effective leader however, listens to others. It may sound simple, but this is often forgotten in the day-to-day muddle of tasks. HBR shares three ways leaders can listen with more empathy.

5. Leadership: A User’s Manual

Leadership is about people. If a leader doesn’t maintain a connection with employees, s/he will struggle to keep people invested in the work and inspired to continue growing. In order to help shorten the learning curve that it takes to become a great leader, Adam Bryant (author of “Quick and Nimble” and Corner Office columnist at New York Times) asked top executives what they would include in a leadership reference guide.