In the end, success comes down to the content of your character and your determination to lead others. Become the best leader in the workplace by keeping your eye on some essential practices.
- Step 1: Think differently and creatively, willing to risk, adjust, and suffer the consequences when the market shifts. Accept it's always a tough time at the top.
- Step 2: Be assertive rather than brash or aggressive. State what you expect unambiguously and unemotionally to prevent misunderstandings -- set the tone.
- Step 3: Keep your sense of humor, vital for camaraderie and critical for smoothing emotions when the employees need to believe things will get better.
- FACT: The UAW's Walter Reuther, known for his integrity as a leader, was beaten savagely in a legendary Battle of the Overpass for worker rights at the Ford Rouge plant in Detroit in 1937. Three years later Ford finally signed a contract with the UAW.
- Step 4: Ask probing questions requiring an employee to think about resources available and obstacles to overcome, and to review what they have tried to date. Especially, insist they answer what they intend to do and when, challenging them to have a personal stake.
- Step 5: Breed mutual respect and trust by listening to others' ideas, enthusiastically accepting new ways of doing things. Treat everyone fairly and consistently, suspending judgment in conflicts rather than jumping to conclusions.
- Step 6: Spend whatever time or energy is necessary to meet and exceed company objectives.
- Step 7: Recognize the contributions of others in successes. Show humility in encouraging everyone to excel, and appreciate them openly. Provide clear, effective, and challenging feedback.
- TIP: The old-fashioned, military, top-down dictating style doesn't work -- allow people to develop a sense of ownership for the work they do.
- Step 8: Establish a foundation of integrity in the workplace. Be genuine in your demeanor, firm in your values, and make conscientious decision-making your hallmark. Be the rock your employees and peers can lean on, the leader they want to follow.