Dr Sheh’s guide for everyday leaders is especially useful during these trying times. Part one of the guide was featured in Issue 2, 2020.
Based on a review of contemporary leadership practices (at all managerial levels), a self-directed leadership guide (one tip per day for 30 days) for everyday leaders has been developed. In part one, seven tips have been discussed and in this article, we look at tips eight to 15.
Tip Eight: Hold Really Effective Meetings.
Effective leaders are good at time management.
- The leader should be the last person to talk in a meeting. Let your people speak first and understand them. Encourage opinions and suggestions.
- Listen to the ideas of all the people present in a meeting before forming your own judgment or opinion.
- Have regular, focussed meetings on the projects for which you are responsible.
- Sell your ideas logically and emotionally.
Tip Nine: Avoid Killing Good Ideas.
Effective leaders are active listeners.
- Practise active listening. Do not talk, but instead just let people explain why they are doing the types of things that they are doing. You will learn many things.
- Give employees an opportunity to voice their opinions and suggestions without fear of ridicule or reprisal.
- Even if a new idea does not work, praise the effort. This will encourage your employees to come up with future ideas.
Tip Ten: Accept Individual but not Group Limitations.
Effective leaders use the group or team to get things done.
- Encourage individuals to compete with themselves and not with others. Always challenge yourself to the fullest.
- Accept the limitations of your people; let them make mistakes and encourage them when they do. Be supportive.
- Know the strengths of your staff individually and then match them with the jobs.
Tip Eleven: Keep Track of What People Do, not Just What They Say.
Effective leaders practise MBWA (Management by Walking Around).
- Use feedback to stay informed about what other people are doing in your area of responsibility and authority.
- Manage your team by walking around. See what people are doing and listen to what they have to say.
- Let your people know that you are there to support and not to harass them. Let them see your appreciation for what they have done.
Tip Twelve: Use Corporate Culture Values Instead of Rules to Circumscribe Behaviour.
Effective leaders use the power of culture to shape behaviour.
- Develop people with the right work values.
- Do not over-control others. It is frustrating for them and time-consuming for you.
- In rewarding your staff, ensure that part of the reason is because they conform to the corporate values and norms.
- Incorporate the corporate values and norms into their performance criteria. If a person gets a promotion, ensure that part of the reason is because he conforms to the corporate values and norms.
Tip Thirteen: Communicate Deeply Enough to Provide Meaning.
Effective leaders subscribe to open communication.
- Your people are encouraged to speak out and speak freely. They should not feel “threatened” by the hierarchy. Communication should not be intimidating, “bossy”, or all-knowing. The purpose of communication is to be heard, so let your people hear what you are saying.
- An effective leader is sensitive to the people’s needs and adopts “open” and “two-way” communication with their people.
– Let others talk first, and
– Talk as equals instead of talking down. Do not run down people.
Tip Fourteen: Be a Good Listener.
Effective leaders listen first before expressing their opinions.
- To listen is not to agree but to understand. Listening is not to reply or judge.
- Stop disagreeing—listen for the value in what someone has to say. The purpose of listening is not just to agree or disagree. If you disagree with someone, they will be defensive. So would you, as we are all human. Disagreeing will decrease a person’s desire to communicate.
- Listen to the “intention”. Listen to “what” has been said. Also listen to “why” they said it...
Tip Fifteen: Have High Integrity and be Trustworthy.
Effective leaders possess a high moral sense and moral responsibility.
- An effective leader subscribes to high integrity and morality which is the “backbone” of a person. They always keeps to their promise.
- An effective leader strives to be trustworthy and would expect their followers to maintain good moral character and self-discipline.
- An effective leader must be upright. If they are not upright, even the orders that they give will not be obeyed.
In part three, another seven tips of an effective leader will be discussed.
Dr Sheh Seow Wah, is the author of The Art of Leadership: Wisdom from the Ancient Chinese, which is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
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