Business Skills

Leadership Skills: 13 Most Useful Leadership Tips and Tricks

Leadership skills

1. Some useful leadership techniques: Stories/narratives, metaphors to explain things, symbolic actions, leading by example, incentives, and penalties.


2. Bad Boss vs. Good Boss


Bad Boss: is dogmatic and inflexible; is subjective; is feared; is self serving; sticks strictly to the 'company line'; communicates only to impress their superiors;


Good Boss: delegates; trusts staff with minimal supervision; is supportive and encourages initiative; encourages staff to work together towards common goals; has honesty and integrity; their motivation not just based on gain for themselves or power as an end in itself; has self confidence; has belief in the abilities of others; has sensitivity to others feelings; is fair towards all; has drive: this encompasses achievement, motivation, ambition, initiative, energy, tenacity and resilience; has relevant skills and knowledge; has a positive mood


(Source: University of Kent Guide)


3. Leading vs Managing: A list of contrasting words that describe the differences between managers and leaders.


Managers: Administer; are a copy; maintain; systems/structure focus; control; short-term; how/when; bottom line; imitate; accept; good soldier; do things right


Leaders: Innovate, are an original, develop, people focus, trust, long-range, what/why, horizon, originate, challenge, own person, do the right thing




4. How to create vision


Visions: What will the organization look like in the future?

Goals: Create the framework.

Objectives: Create measurable terms.

Tasks: How will the objectives be accomplished?

Timelines: When will they be accomplished? Follow-up during the actual performance to ensure all the above is being met.


Visioning strategy is best performed using a four-prong approach:

Internal Audit: Where are you now (snapshot)?

Reading and Research: Where can you grow?

Organization Vision: Where is the organization going?

Vision: Where do you want to grow?


(Source: The U.S. Army)


5. Strategy vs tactics

Strategies normally look an average of about five years into the future (with a range of about one to ten years). Tactics look ahead just far enough to secure objectives set by strategy.


Thus, strategy = long-term thinking, and tactics = short-term thinking (to complete an objective)


6. Successful delegation: Task allocation - pick the right people for the job

- The BALM method - Break the task into smaller tasks - Analyze and List competencies for each task -

- Handling overlaps - Let the better person do the important part of the task

- Handling gaps - Train team members or recruit new members


And promote value-based self-governance, tell people you expect that they will 'use good judgment in all situations.'


7. Avoiding micromanagement: When a details-oriented and hands-on attitude gets extreme.


Signs of micromanagement:

- resisting to delegate

- taking back delegated work before it is finished - suspecting it is not good

- Getting too much interested in supervising other people's projects

- correcting people's tiny mistakes all the time, and getting lost of the big picture


To deal with this: talk to employees - apologize and change - get people to believe you are invested their growth


8. Doing performance appraisals




Performance appraisal process = Skill + Knowledge + Attitude + Rewards

Skills + Knowledge + Attitudes = Observable Behavior

Observable Behavior = Performance Appraisal Rating


A good leader must let know people know at the earliest what areas of their work needs improvement.


9. Conflict resolution skills: The five 5 styles of conflict resolution

This is also known as the Thomas Kilmann Conflict mode instrument (TKI).


The TKI model says a good leader should one of these models when choosing a course of action in a conflict situation: assertiveness and cooperativeness.


Assertiveness is the degree to which you try to satisfy your own needs.

Cooperativeness is the degree to which you try to satisfy the other person’s concerns.


From this come five conflict handling modes:


Avoiding = Sidestepping the conflict

Accommodating = Trying to satisfy the other person’s concerns at expense of your own

Compromising = Trying to find an acceptable settlement that only partially satisfies both people’s concerns

Competing = Trying to satisfy your concerns at the expense of others

Collaborating = Trying to find a win-win solution which completely satisfies both people’s concerns


These conflict handling modes are intentions; you aim to resolve the conflict in this way, this does not refer to skill level or actual displayed behavior.


Conflict management tips:

- Listen first, talk second

- Set out the facts: The objectives that will impact your judgment

- Good relationships are the first priority: Treat others calmly and with mutual respect

- Keep people and problems separate: Look for the real reasons behind the conflict

- Focus on the interests that are being presented: Listen carefully - 'why is someone saying what he is...?'

- Explore options together: And perhaps, a third option might exist


The conflict management process:

- Set up: In an assertive style, set out why you are there - and what you are going to do - and listen carefully

- Get information: Get to the underlying interests, needs, and positions

- Understand the conflict objectively: How does it affect work? team performance? missing deadline?

- Agree the problem

- Think up possible solutions together

- Negotiate a solution: Win: win for all parties, possibly


10. Learning from the results


The U.S. Army conducts After Action Reviews (AARs) after completion of each operation.

Here are the guidelines they use:


Gather all the players.

Introduction and rules.

Review events leading to the activity (what was supposed to happen).

Give a brief statement of the specific activity.

Summarize the key events. Encourage participation.

Have junior leaders restate portions of their part of the activity.

Do not turn it into a critique or lecture. The following will help:

Ask why certain actions were taken.

Ask how they reacted to certain situations.

Ask when actions were initiated.

Ask leading and thought provoking questions.

Exchange war stories (lessons learned).

Ask employees what happened in their own point of view.

Relate events to subsequent results.

Explore alternative courses of actions that might have been more effective.

Complaints are handled positively.

When the discussion turns to errors made, emphasize the positive and point out the difficulties of making tough decisions.


Allow junior leaders to discuss the events with their people in private.

Follow-up on needed actions.


11. Body language tips for leaders: What else leader must known apart from steady eye contact, firm shake hand, smile and an 'open' look.


- Stand tall: Keeping your shoulders back and holding yourself up to your full height will give you an air of confidence.


- Stand with your arms crossed behind your back: This will help you adjust your posture, and it makes you look to be in charge.


- Sit up straight: Slouching makes you look disinterested/lazy, and not in control of the situation.


- Walk confidently: Keep your head up and take ample, even strides.


- Touch works wonders: Without breaking people's sense of personal space (Americans are especially touchy about this), a little encouraging on the shoulders, for example, is a great way to connect with others.


12. How to inspire people: Basically explain the vision and the plan in terms of how they affect each individual

- e.g. 'Our jobs depend on doing this, and things are tough in the industry as a whole'.


13. How to be a fair leader: Simply, listen to both sides of the story, and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.


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