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10 ways to get the best out of people

Survey after survey shows that many people are dissatisfied at work, that communication and conflict are huge problems in most workplaces, and that few leaders deserve to be called “great.”

So what’s the problem?

From  observations of top executives over the past 14 years, there are in fact two problems:

  1. Few leaders really do believe that “our people are our most important resource.”
  2. They just do not know how to lead.

Below is ten ways to get the best out of your most important resource, your staff :
1. Provide a clear point of view – If people don’t know where their leader is going to, they quickly lose focus. If they don’t know “where you’re coming from” – what you stand for, why you make certain decisions, how you feel about crucial issues – they won’t follow.
2. Act with unquestioned integrity – Walk your talk. Have one set of rules for everyone.
3. Assume the best of everyone and give them every chance to prove you right – Expect the best, and you get it; expect the worst, and you get that. So give people a chance. Begin by thinking well of them. Help them demonstrate their worth.
4. Show deep respect for others – Everyone wants a sense of meaning, of self-worth. You may not like them or agree with their views, but you owe it to them to let them speak up, to be polite to them, and to show them that you value not only their input. But them as human beings.
5. Give people big challenges, make them responsible for specific results, and hold them accountable for delivery- Just as a personal trainer needs to push his chubby clients do another 100 sit-ups, so do you need to stretch your people. But then, demand results and be tough when you don’t get them.
6. Provide whatever they need to succeed – No one can achieve much without information, resources and support.
7. Involve them early … and constantly – Rope them in at the start, and keep them in the loop all the time, and you’ll have a much better chance of making the right things happen.
8. Encourage open, robust, fact-based dialogue – Ask people for their ideas and insights. Demand that they support their views with hard facts, not just wild assumptions. Teach them to fight for their opinions.
9. Give fast feedback … and plenty of praise – In the immortal words of Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager, “Catch them doing something right … and give them a one-minute praising.”
10. Be consistent, persistent … and flexible – Be predictable. Hold your course. But when circumstances change, show that you’re willing to change too.

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