Leadership compare

Five tips for becoming a better leader

With fewer resources, many leaders realize that their performance has gone downhill. Here are a few time-tested tips you can use to improve your game.

Getting more done, while at the same time using fewer resources, can be one of business life's greatest challenges. I hear all the time from frustrated leaders and managers who tell me that things are getting worse. But before you quit trying, check out these suggestions.

Note: These tips are based on an entry in our IT Leadership blog.

1: Go to other people's offices for meetings

It's a lot easier to leave someone else's office than it is to get people out of yours, and you don't have to waste time afterward. This approach also increases your visibility with others while you're on the move -- and you may learn something in passing.

2: As often as possible, meet with users, clients, or customers

I realize this is a big time demand, but what you hear firsthand from those being served by your organization can be startling and exciting. If you're worried about hurting a subordinate's feelings, take that person with you, but make it clear that you're going to ask and talk a lot.

3: Snooze

According to the latest studies from Pew Research, having a midday nap of just 20 minutes in duration can improve mood, alertness, and performance. Next time you find yourself reaching for a coffee or a Red Bull to boost your energy, try this first. As a Wellness Advisor for Tempur-Pedic, I know that most people underestimate the benefits of sleep. This can be a game changer.

4: Use praise to reinforce crispness

In your meetings, make it abundantly clear that you appreciate those who are aware of how valuable your time is. You want attendees to be crisp, concise, and alert so the meeting will be effective as well as efficient. Conversely, if someone is a time hog, say so. I don't mean you have to be ugly about this, but great leaders ensure that those around them are aware of their needs and objectives.

5: Use that smart phone in a smarter way

If you aren't regularly using the recording feature on your phone, start now. We all experience moments of brilliance, and when they occur, we need to make the most of them. Never miss an opportunity to make verbal notes for use later. Trying to recall them afterward is frustrating and can cost you a lost idea. Another approach is to call the office and leave yourself a voicemail.


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About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

15 comments
askbuppa
askbuppa

The two points I found most helpful, are #1 & #2. They reminded me of a technique I learned years ago. MBWA (Management By Walking Around) If you do a search you will find some excellent info. The voice recording was one I had never thought of doing, but it certainly makes sense in this age of information overload.

john.hamlin
john.hamlin

Are you kidding? Only a narcisist would utter the sentence in tip 4. If you have to say I don't want to be ugly about this, then don't. More of an anti-leader in my opinion.

sperry532
sperry532

It's more like the time hogs that are the narcisists. They seem to value the sound of their own voices over the value of the time of the rest of us. We have one in our firm. He will make his point, then go on to restate his point; not clarifying or expanding, just restating. Then he'll go back to restate his previous point and so on. His "informational" meetings run an hour for 10-15 minutes worth of information.

mnikumbha2
mnikumbha2

Snooze!!! seems to be intersting one!!!!!!!!

LupoDoro
LupoDoro

I absolutely agree with and have known for a long time the health benefits of a mid-day power nap. However, I work in a huge investment bank and it would be FAR from acceptable to do so at one's desk, or anywhere else in the firm for that matter. If companies would allow for its employees to be able to so, without it affecting their performance evaluation, then I would happily take the prescribed 20 min snooze.

MidwestITLady
MidwestITLady

I've been in a management/leadership role for several years now. Management and leadership overlap quite a bit in my opinion, so let's not debate about the category in which these tips belong. The snoozing tip is a difficult one...in places I've worked, those caught snoozing in their cubicles often became the target of ridicule.

kevaburg
kevaburg

It's almost ridiculous! Try explaining to your boss that the reason you are asleep in your cubicle is to be more productive! All that person sees is someone not being productive at that particular moment and the fact he would have to explain it away to his superior if caught. The subject of the midday nap is a good one, the reasoning behind it is sound but reason very rarely wins the day when someone else in authority thinks differently!

larry.bredehoeft
larry.bredehoeft

Snooze? Where would I do that? I have heard this before, but quite frankly in my organization that would be considered sleeping on the job. Grounds for dismissal. I agree the shut-eye could improve alertness, but not realistic in most organizations.

davalop
davalop

These are management (or time management) tips with the possible exception of the one for spending time with others. Leadership is all about inspiring those people you lead to produce more, be more creative, work smarter etc.

Dknopp
Dknopp

...Leadershio is a buzzword you hear all over the place lately, and I assume they wanted it stuck in here as well.

QAonCall
QAonCall

You could make the case for either. Certainly leadership is also about ideas, big picture stuff as well, and many of these either support those things, or allow you to boost/build them out with more willing 'accomplices'. Meeting with clients et al would certainly give you a better understanding of their needs, and certainly allow you to lead your organization to fill those needs through new products and services. The napping one, while it may be a stretch, could certainly allow for better alertness etc...that one may be the biggest stretch for all of these, but who can argue to be at your best, you must be alert!

Dknopp
Dknopp

...I remember back in the day I used to go nap in my van at lunch with an alarm clock. Now if you have a home office and you are professional about it you can get away with a nap during your luch hour and not go out to the parking lot.

psouza
psouza

Along the time management lines; I would recommend using a service/tool called Reqall.com. It allows you to record tasks via voice, which are later synchronized with Outlook tasks. Helps me not drop the ball...