101 Steps Towards Better Leadership
We found a great thought-provoker about leadership styles and habits on InsideCRM.com. This checklist isn’t perfect, of course, even with over 100 factors to keep top-of-mind. So, we thought we could make it more useful with a few critiques. I am sure you can find other corrections to make as well based on your own leadership experiences.
Edits we would make (open the article to follow along as we go down the list):
Under Body Language, point 8 recommends that you “always smile.” This is way too broad. Smile only when appropriate, and when you can do it genuinely. False smiles at serious moments can strike the person with whom you are talking as condescending, even if you don’t mean to be.
Meeting deadlines: This whole section is missing the critical step of getting buy-in on your goals from team members. Everyone is more efficient if they own a piece of the decision-making process and agree on the goals you choose. You don’t have to govern by consensus, but you do have to invite participation and contribution to the planning and innovation processes.
Getting along with employees: Point 31 says “provide motivation”: Easy to say, hard to do if you can’t pay them a lot of money and let them run their own day. Ask for input from employees about how together you can build a sustainable engaged corporate culture.
- It bugs us (a lot) that “listening” does not appear in this section.
Manage yourself: Most of these points (especially 33-36 and 40-43) support our philosophy of Pursuit of Truth. This is a critical leadership success factor for sustaining employee engagement and innovation.
Under Boosting Productivity, #45 needs work: Making meetings productive is more than just being “organized and prepared.” Meetings only have value if the agenda is short, forward-thinking and action-oriented. NO UPDATES. Deliver those by e-mail and require that they be read before the meeting starts.
Point 46, on the other hand, about keeping important tasks ahead of simply easy tasks, is critical. Against that, point 55 about doing the hard tasks first only works when you keep it subordinate to #46.
In Managing Finances and Resources, #61 about well-compensated employees must be clarified: Good pay is only part of the answer. Once people’s basic financing needs are met, they actually look as much for non-financial compensation such as extra paid-time-off, participation in strategic initiatives, and public recognition for what they accomplish. (Click here for more of our thoughts on compensation.)
At last! Under Point #74 we find “Listen attentively”. It is a crime to bury listening way down here under “customers.” This should show up under every section , especially under “Getting Along With Employees”.
Going above and beyond: Here we finally get to our favorite topic: Transformational Leadership! We think points 93-101 should be an integral part of how you lead, not “above and beyond.” (For more on this critical topic, click here.) This section just scratches the surface of the difference between transactional and transformational leadership. Leaders who make the leap from the former to the latter truly rise above the rest!