You’re holding a briefcase full of practical tools that can boost your leadership skills and help you identify and develop associates who can move the organization forward.
Author Michael L. Ryan is president and CEO of Human Resource Professionals, which helps agencies, companies, and other organizations boost leadership skills and cultivate top talent. In this guide, Ryan leads managers on a quest to become leaders. Through case studies, statistics, and secrets he discovered during a fifty-year career, you can learn how to
recruit, attract, and retain excellent employees;
create a workplace that encourages employees to motivate themselves;
counsel, coach, and constructively resolve conflicts;
stay out of trouble with lawyers and government agencies; and
communicate effectively in writing, orally, and nonverbally.
He also offers insights on becoming a better listener, balancing work and life, and implementing the necessary change to accomplish your goals. While books and manuals sit on a shelf and collect dust, a briefcase is kept handy and carried around. Wear this one out and keep it near you at all times, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a leader and accomplishing business objectives.
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Read an Excerpt
Don't Manage 'Emâ?"Lead 'Em!
A Briefcase of Practical, by-the-Numbers Approaches to Leading Associates in the Workplace
By Michael L. Ryan
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Michael L. Ryan
All rights reserved.
LEADERSHIP FILE I
WHAT IS A LEADER?
18 WAYS TO LEAD, NOT MANAGE, ASSOCIATES
Leaders get results by leading. Managers try to get results by issuing orders and using fear and punishment to get compliance.
Leaders lead. Managers nag. Associates have a way of becoming what they are led to be, not what they are nagged to be.
Leaders focus on human resources. Managers focus on material resources.
I am always amazed and amused by the number of how-to management books that have been written and continue to be written each year. I guess this is 1 more of those efforts but I hope it serves a more practical approach to how to best perform your job. Strange as it may sound, I want you to stop managing. I want you to start leading. This Leadership File is intended to help you do just that.
1st understand that the definition of a leader is one who has followers and, through these followers, gets results in whatever their particular mission may be. That's it. It can't get much simpler than that. Now comes the hard part. What do you have to do to be a leader? Most of those how-to books I just talked about offer you a magic formula. While some of them provide excellent advice, the one thing of which I am certain is that the advice differs from book-to-book and it is usually ignored during the heat of organizational battle. What that tells me, and what I have learned through the years, is there is no 1 formula for becoming an effective leader. Most managers don't even read the book(s). They attempt to lead through the hit-and-miss method they learned from some other ineffective manager. As such, more than 50% of the time, they fail to achieve the desired results. They never become leaders. Just nagging managers.
I can't give you that 1 magic formula for becoming a leader and neither can anyone else. You are all different and, as such, so are all leaders. What I can give you are 18 characteristics of effective leaders. You will then have to decide which of these characteristics you already possess, which ones you don't have but would like to have, and which ones are not you and never will be. With your inventory complete, begin to practice the wonderful art of Leadership. As someone once said ... It ain't easy, but it ain't rocket science either.
THE 18 CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
As I have said, Leaders have followers. Some people are thinkers. Some are prophets. Both these roles are important and needed, but without followers, there can be no leaders. Effective leaders aren't necessarily loved and admired. He or she is someone whose followers do the right thing. Popularity is not leadership – results are. Here are 18 ways to achieve those results from your followers.
Look over your shoulder now and then to make sure someone is following you.
I. Leaders don't motivate associates. Leaders create the environment in which associates motivate themselves. They do this by ...
1. Describing how a job is to be done and then having the associate do it that way.
2. Using lots of positive reinforcement and personalizing it to each associate.
3. Respecting the individuality of associates and trusting their intentions.
4. Understanding the associate's point of view by active listening. If they don't understand what the associate is saying, they repeat the information for clarity.
5. Through their actions, showing associates that the job matters, quality is important, and deadlines are real.
6. Refusing to accept poor performance. It's better to aim for excellence and hit good, than it is to aim for good and hit average.
II. Leaders understand the needs of their associates. They understand the 5 I's of High Performers:
It is important to allow high performers to walk their own path because it is just that, their own path.
III. Leaders follow 3 Dozen Principles of Leadership.
1. Leaders know themselves and seek self-improvement.
The 4 Stages of Leadership Self-Improvement
Stage I You don't realize you aren't a good leader.
Stage II As you learn, you realize you are not a good leader.
Stage III The more you learn the more you will think of yourself as a good leader, until
Stage IV You are a good leader without even thinking about it.
2. Leaders are technically proficient where their area of responsibility is concerned.
3. Leaders seek responsibility and take responsibility for their actions.
4. Leaders make sound and timely decisions.
5. Leaders set the example.
6. Leaders know their associates well and look out for their well-being.
7. Leaders keep their associates informed.
8. Leaders develop a sense of responsibility in their associates.
9. Leaders insure that the task is understood, supervised as appropriate, and accomplished.
10. Leaders develop teams. They are able to merge different personalities into a cohesive unit.
There is no "I" in team, but there is a "me" if you rearrange a couple of the letters.
11. Leaders deploy their associates in accordance with their capabilities.
12. Leaders shape the opinions of their associates and win their enthusiasm.
13. Leaders practice counseling, coaching, constructive criticism, conflict resolution, and change implementation.
14. Leaders show respect for others by not wasting their time with useless meetings.
15. Leaders plan and put the important things first.
16. Leaders provide a vision. They set goals that are simple and easy to understand.
17. Leaders communicate clearly.
18. Leaders help others improve. They are not afraid to develop their associates.
19. Leaders trust their associates.
20. Leaders lead with integrity. They are honest and fair. They live by a value system.
21. Leaders set high standards. Good enough is not good enough.
22. Leaders always seek opportunities for improvement.
23. Leaders are not afraid to assume responsibility and accountability.
24. Leaders give credit when and where credit is due.
25. Leaders are loyal to their superiors, their organization, and their associates.
26. Leaders respect authority.
27. Leaders don't yell, scream, belittle, and use fear.
28. Leaders make sure they are understood. They give definite guidelines and deadlines and they never assume anything.
29. Leaders are not afraid to take risks when necessary.
Sometimes you have to turn your back on the crowd if you want to lead the orchestra.
30. Leaders look toward the future.
31. Leaders have high standards of performance for themselves and their associates.
32. Leaders take the lead in evaluating situations and offer guidance, constructive input, and encouragement.
33. Leaders stick by their decisions.
34. Leaders are not afraid to admit their mistakes.
Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen. – Carl Sandburg
35. Leaders have a good understanding of their weaknesses and accept them without being defensive. They work through their weaknesses and play on their strengths.
36. Leaders have a sense of humor. They smile a lot. They help people relax and feel comfortable in their presence.
Make sure your people understand their jobs and what is expected of them. Then wander around and try to catch them doing something right.
IV. Leaders are Courteous. They ...
1. Are always on time.
2. Keep appointments.
3. Return phone calls.
4. Write clear memos that are not intimidating, but encouraging.
5. Give credit where credit is due.
6. Keep promises.
7. Are fair. They accept responsibility even when an associate has made a mistake.
8. Never take sides. They take time to listen to all sides and makes decisions based on facts, not favoritism.
V. Leaders are effective Negotiators of sensitive situations by ...
1. Biting their tongue.
2. Being sensitive to the other person's point of view.
3. Thinking outside the envelope and looking for insights and solutions in unexpected places.
4. Negotiating face-to-face. Any other contact cuts out about 70% of communications effectiveness.
5. Understanding that it takes time to reach a consensus. Leaders are willing to negotiate solutions until all involved parties are satisfied. This is often called negotiating for a "Win-Win."
VI. Leaders follow the 12 Principles of the Art of Persuasion. They ...
1. Win respect.
2. Avoid arrogance.
3. Don't shout down the opposition.
4. Pick the right time to present a proposal.
5. Don't oversell.
6. Pitch to the positive.
7. Don't apologize or express a lack of confidence.
8. Don't try for a "snow" job.
9. Are well prepared.
10. Are ready for questions.
11. Are prepared for objections.
12. Keep their cool.
VII. Leaders handle Emotional Outbursts by ...
1. Calmly acknowledging the associate's behavior,
2. Telling the associate how the behavior affects them and the discussion or situation at hand,
3. Deciding whether or not the discussion can continue or if it should be postponed to a better time,
4. Suggesting a way to resolve the issue, and
5. Offering support.
VIII. Leaders are characterized by the 3 F's ...
1. They are Friendly
* Greets and speaks to all associates, on and off the job.
* Knows all the personal facts they can about each associate such as family status, hobbies, ambitions, etc.
* Improves communications by giving information that is of interest and concern to associates.
* Earns respect and confidence by showing it to others.
* Is pleasant and cheerful in all situations.
* Encourages all associates to advance to his or her maximum potential.
* Promotes an atmosphere of teamwork and pride in all jobs.
* Commends, when appropriate, for a job well done.
2. They are Fair
* Never shows partiality toward any associate.
* Is always truthful even though it may be painful at times.
* Is prepared to explain and justify their actions and decisions with honesty.
* Handles all adverse dealings with associates in privacy.
* Listens to the associate's side of any situation.
* Never makes promises unless they can deliver on them.
3. They are Firm
* Maintains the dignity that becomes a leader.
* Applies rules and policies uniformly.
* Disciplines when warranted.
* Does not lower standards or bend rules for convenience.
* Never discusses disciplinary action of 1 associate with other associates.
IX. Leaders practice Temper Control. Through careful exercise of self-discipline, here are some ways leaders master their tempers:
1. They don't meet anger with anger. If necessary, they wait for themselves and the associate to cool off before proceeding.
2. They don't fly off the handle. They stay calm.
3. When they make a mistake, they apologize.
4. They avoid pointing out an associate's shortcomings in character, personality, or intelligence.
5. They are careful of what they say. Effective leaders have tact.
6. They check their own attitudes. They never blame others for their own faults.
7. They don't let their dislike of an associate cloud their judgment.
X. Leaders show Emotion but they adhere to the following caveats:
1. Emotional outbursts – from affection to anger – must be special. If the outbursts happen frequently, they will be ignored.
2. The emotion must be directed positively. If it is negative it can be interpreted as a crackup.
3. The emotion must be channeled toward a purposeful end. Otherwise, it will seem self-centered.
XI. Leaders avoid the 12 Common Management Failings.
1. Failing to communicate.
2. Failing to delegate.
3. Failing to not take things personally.
4. Failing to set parameters.
5. Failing to provide important information.
6. Failing to say thank you.
7. Failing to provide an environment in which associates can motivate themselves.
8. Failing to provide workplace satisfiers for all associates.
9. Failing to treat associates as individuals that aren't all the same.
10. Failing to obtain all the information.
11. Failing to demonstrate loyalty.
12. Failing to plan.
XII. Leaders avoid the 9 Common Mistakes that have been proven to ruin or stall careers.
1. Not understanding why they were given the job they were given.
2. Following up too slowly.
3. Ignoring the "peter principle" which recognizes that associates will eventually be promoted beyond their level of competence.
4. Wanting to be liked by everyone.
5. Failing to adjust when a new boss is named.
6. Going public with their private thoughts.
7. Behaving inconsistently.
8. Blaming bad news on someone else.
9. Asking associates to do something they won't do themselves.
XIII. Leaders follow the 7 Rules of Ethical Thinking.
1. They consider the well-being of others, including non-participants.
2. They think as a member of the community, not as an isolated individual.
3. They obey, but do not depend solely on the law to determine right and wrong.
4. They think of themselves and their organization as part of society.
5. They obey moral rules.
6. They think objectively.
7. They ask themselves, What sort of person would do such a thing? And How will I feel when it's done? They respect the customs and practices of others, but not at the expense of their own ethics.
XIV. Leaders practice Street Smarts.
1. Never underestimate the importance of money.
2. Never overestimate the value of money.
3. You can never have too many friends in your business.
4. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know."
5. Speak less. Listen more.
Silence is a source of great strength. – Lao Tzu
6. Keep your promises, both the big ones and the little ones.
7. Every transaction with an associate has a life of its own.
8. Commit to quality from day 1.
9. Be nice to people.
10. Don't hog the credit.
XV. Leaders must have the following 22 Skill Sets as discussed in detail throughout this Briefcase. If you don't have 'em, go get 'em on your own or get help. They are a must.
1. Adaptability to Change
3. Coaching and Counseling
5. Conflict Management
7. Development and Fostering of Diverse Teams
8. High Self-awareness
11. Interviewing and Selection
14. Openness to New Ideas
16. Positive Mindset
19. Strategic Thinking
XVI. Leaders have 4 Leadership Styles and adapt them to the situation and the associate.
1. Directing Style
2. Coaching Style
3. Supporting Style
4. Delegating Style
Note: These styles are explained in Leadership File XI, The 5 C's, of this Briefcase.
XVII. Leaders practice 6 Key Partnership Roles and adapt them to each situation:
1. Coach. They don't play. They help others play.
2. Trainer. They help their associates get the skills they need.
3. Role Model. They do their job, with quality, and on time. They expect their associates to do the same.
4. Facilitator. They help associates determine how to accomplish their jobs.
5. Evaluator. They act as scorekeepers or umpires.
6. Leader. They have a vision, they get commitment, and then they make the vision happen.
And finally ...
XVIII Leaders Delegate
Don't do. Delegate.
Hard work never kills anyone who supervises it.
I am listing this leadership characteristic last, not because it is last, but because it is the key skill of an effective leader and I want you to leave this file with that thought. Delegation is leadership. Leadership is delegation.
Caveat: Delegation is a leadership tool, but not an end in itself. Leaders are judged by results. Delegation is a key tool to bring about those results.
First let's take a little test to see if you are delegating enough. Answer these questions honestly.
* Do you take work home at nights and on weekends?
* Do you work more than your associates?
* Do you make planning a low priority?
* Are you having trouble with deadlines?
* Do you spend too little time with your family?
* Do you spend too little time in pleasurable pursuits?
* Are you a perfectionist?
* Do you prefer not to solicit the opinion of others?
* Do you not trust others to get the job done?
* Do you prefer the stick over the carrot?
* Do you like to keep your hand in your old job?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you are probably not delegating enough. Are these some of your excuses?
I can do it better than anyone else.
It's a force of habit.
My associates are too busy already.
My boss told me to do it.
I don't want to dump jobs on anyone.
Baloney to all that.
Over time, your associates will learn to do the job as well as you did. In the meantime, accept less than perfection.
Excerpted from Don't Manage 'Emâ?"Lead 'Em! by Michael L. Ryan. Copyright © 2014 Michael L. Ryan. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsThe Promise, xvii,
The Ground Rules, xxi,
Preface: The Human Resources Department, xxvii,
I. What is a Leader?, 1,
II. Satisfaction and Motivation, 19,
III. Fair Employment Practices, 27,
IV. Recruitment, Selection & Retention, 61,
V. The 3 Isms, 145,
VI. The 12 Rights of Associates, 155,
VII. Communications, 193,
VIII. Listening, 233,
IX. Talent Leadership, 241,
X. Talent Development, 271,
XI. The 5 C's, 289,
XII. Policies & Procedures, 321,
XIII. Compensation, 331,
XIV. Economic Benefits, 371,
XV. Discipline & Discharge, 415,
XVI. Unionitis Disease, 431,
XVII. The Human Approach to Time Management, 455,
Tool Inventory, 497,
The Leader's Prayer, 517,