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Top 10 Things You Can do to Be a Great Leader - My Last Blog

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Employees are moving to new positions and new careers in unprecedented numbers. Here are my final tips on how to create a culture that attracts and retains hard-working people.

1. Don’t be over your employees – I’ve always disliked this term “over.” If anything, think of yourself as under them, supporting them each and every day. If you think of yourself as a developer of people, you’ll have people clamoring to work with you.

2. Take care of yourself first – You can’t perform if you feel like crap. Sleep is key, so get plenty of it. If you eat garbage, you’ll feel like garbage. And move. Do walking or standing meetings, even when virtual. Limit social media. And drink water. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also set an example for your teammates.

3. Get your values off the wall and into action - Many companies have defined values and display them beautifully in their foyers. But are you really living your values? What does ‘integrity’ really mean to you? What is a ‘team?’ What behaviors are you looking for from your colleagues? Be specific and give examples to teammates frequently, not just when they’re new.

4. Tie employee activity to your vision and mission – Do all your employees know that their work matters? Whether they’re creating a spreadsheet or an advertising campaign, how does their overall work tie to the vision and mission of your company? When you set your individual and team goals, align them with your company’s picture of the future.

5. Understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses – By being aware of each other’s work styles and communicating that to all teammates, you provide an easy way for people to communicate and work together. Build your team with people who have different strengths and encourage them to support each other.

6. Praise the behavior you want to see – This phrase comes from the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard. Be specific about praise. “That report had just the right amount of detail and had no errors.” Vs. “Great job!” Do more praising than criticizing. Speaking of the word “criticizing”...

7. Re-Direct vs. Criticize – No one likes to criticize or be criticized. So, think of “re-directing.” Did you really explain what you wanted done in the right way for the employee to do the job correctly? Were they trained properly when they were on-boarded? Is their issue about skills or work habits? And don’t forget to re-direct promptly and not in front of others.

8. Don’t be the smartest person in the room – This is tough, especially if you’re new to leadership. Remember that the greatest leaders surround themselves with people smarter and different. Give your employees credit for new ideas and better ways of doing things.

9. Allow mistakes to happen – You’ll make mistakes, and your employees will make mistakes. Don’t beat them up or yourself up. Learn from mistakes, be open and honest and challenge your team to come up with the best resolution.

10. Build and strengthen relationships – I still am friends with employees and colleagues that I worked with in my 20’s. We went through tough times together, worked all-nighters and many weekends. The work was not always fun, but the relationships and friendships I made will last a lifetime. I continued to do that throughout my entire career.

After working in the travel industry for almost 20 years, I ventured out on my own in July of 1996 to help businesses attract and retain hard-working people; (I started young!) I have enjoyed working with some of the smartest partners and best clients anyone could ask for.

I’m closing up shop and moving on to many new adventures with my newly retired husband, so this is my last post. I’ll keep the website up for a while, so feel free to borrow any of these ideas, because I borrowed from many talented leaders.

I wish you much happiness and success in your personal and professional lives!

Take Care, Margie

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