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Leadership Development Tips

January 21st, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments


Leadership Development Tips


While leadership is easy to explain, leadership is not so easy to practice. Leadership is about

behaviour first, skills second. Good leaders are followed because people trust and respleadershipect them, not for the skills they possess. Leadership is different to management. Management relies more on planning, organisational and communications skills. Leadership relies on management skills too, but more so on qualities such as integrity, honesty, humility, courage, commitment,

sincerity, passion, confidence, positivity, wisdom, determination, compassion and sensitivity. Some people are born more naturally to leadership than others. Most people don’t seek to be a leader. Those who want to be a leader can develop leadership ability. Leadership can be performed with different styles. Some leaders have one style, which is right for certain situations and wrong for others. Some leaders can adapt and use different leadership styles for given situations.

Ten Leadership Tips

From Jack Welch, respected business leader and writer – these are great:

  1. There is only one way – the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.
  2. Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer. Transfer learning across your organisation.
  3. Get the right people in the right jobs – it is more important than developing a strategy.
  4. An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.
  5. Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.
  6. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner – the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.
  7. Business has to be fun – celebrations energies an organisation.
  8. Never underestimate the other guy.
  9. Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
  10. Know when to meddle and when to let go – this is pure instinct.

As a leader, your main priority is to get the job done, whatever the job is. Leaders make things happen by:

  • Knowing your objectives and having a plan how to achieve them
  • Building a team committed to achieving the objectives
  • Helping each team member to give their best efforts

As a leader you must know yourself. Know your own strengths and weaknesses, so that you can build the best team around you.


Plan carefully, with your people where appropriate, how you will achieve your aims. You may have to redefine or develop your own new aims and priorities. Leadership can be daunting for many people simply because no one else is issuing the aims – leadership often means you have to create your own from a blank sheet of paper. Set and agree clear standards. Keep the right balance between ‘doing’ yourself and managing others ‘to do’.


Build teams. Ensure you look after people and that communications and relationships are good. Select good people and help them to develop. Develop people via training and experience, particularly by agreeing objectives and responsibilities that will interest and stretch them, and always support people while they strive to improve and take on extra tasks. Follow the rules about delegation closely – this process is crucial. Ensure that your managers are applying the same principles. Good leadership principles must cascade down through the whole organisation. This means that is you are leading a large organisation you must check that the processes for managing, communicating and developing people are in place and working properly.


Communication is critical. Listen, consult, involve, and explain why as well as what needs to be done.


Some leaders lead by example and are very ‘hands on’; others are more distanced and let their people do it. Whatever – your example is paramount – the way you work and conduct yourself will be the most you can possibly expect from your people. If you set low standards you are to blame for low standards in your people.


“Praise loudly, blame softly.” (Catherine the Great) Follow this maxim.


If you seek one single most important behaviour that will rapidly earn you respect and trust among your people, this is it: Always give your people the credit for your achievements and successes. Never take the credit yourself – even if it’s all down to you, which would be unlikely anyway. You must however take the blame and accept responsibility for any failings or mistakes that your people make. Never never never publicly blame another person for a failing. Their failing is your responsibility – true leadership offers is no hiding place for a true leader.


Take time to listen to and really understand people. Walk the job. Ask and learn about what people do and think, and how they think improvements can be made.

Accentuate the positive. Express things in terms of what should be done, not what should not be done. If you accentuate the negative, people are more likely to veer towards it. Like the mother who left her five-year-old for a minute unsupervised in the kitchen, saying as she left the room, “…don’t you go putting those beans up your nose…”


Have faith in people to do great things – given space and air and time, everyone can achieve more than they hope for. Provide people with relevant interesting opportunities, with proper measures and rewards and they will more than repay your faith.


Take difficult decisions bravely, and be truthful and sensitive when you implement them.


Constantly seek to learn from the people around you – they will teach you more about yourself than anything else. They will also tell you 90% of what you need to know to achieve your business goals.


Embrace change, but not for change’s sake. Begin to plan your own succession as soon as you take up your new post, and in this regard, ensure that the only promises you ever make are those that you can guarantee to deliver.

Leadership Behaviour

If you are interested in learning more – start with yourself. Leadership is mostly about your own behaviour, especially towards others. People who strive for these things generally come to be regarded and respected as a leader by their people:

  • Integrity – the most important requirement; without it everything else is for nothing.
  • Being very grown-up – never getting emotional with people – no shouting or ranting, even if you feel very upset or angry.
  • Leading by example – always be seen to be working harder and more determinedly than anyone else.
  • Help alongside your people when they need it.
  • Fairness – treat everyone equally and on merit.
  • Be firm and clear in dealing with bad or unethical behaviour.
  • Listen to and really understand people, and show them that you understand (this doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone – understanding is different to agreeing).
  • Always take the responsibility and blame for your people’s mistakes.
  • Always give your people the credit for your successes.
  • Never self-promote.
  • Back up and support your people.
  • Be decisive, but be seen to be making fair and balanced decisions.
  • Ask for people’s views, but remain neutral and objective.
  • Be honest but sensitive in the ways that give bad news or criticism.
  • Always do what you say you will do – keep your promises.
  • Work hard to become expert at what you do technically, and at understanding your people’s technical abilities and challenges.
  • Encourage your people to grow, learn and take on as much as they want to, at a pace they can handle.
  • Always accentuate the positive (say ‘do it like this’, not ‘don’t do it like that’).
  • Smile and encourage others to be happy and enjoy themselves.
  • Relax, and give your people and yourself time to get to know and respect each other.
  • Take notes and keep good records.
  • Plan and prioritize.
  • Manage your time well and help others to do so too.
  • Involve your people in your thinking and especially in managing change.
  • Read good books, and take advice from good people, to help develop your own understanding of yourself, and particularly of other people’s weaknesses (some of the best books on leadership are not about business at all – they are about people who triumph over adversity).
  • Achieve the company tasks and objectives, but never at the cost of your integrity or the trust of your people.


Leadership has been called “The ability to get followers.” One of the deepest cravings of human nature is the need to feel important, to have a sense of meaning and purpose in life and work. Leaders are invariably those who can tap into the deeper emotions of others and get them to rise above and beyond anything they may have accomplished in the past.



Winston Churchill was able to arouse and inspire an entire nation with words like these: “Let us so carry ourselves that if the British Empire should endure a thousand years, men will still say, this was their finest hour.”



Lee Iacocca stepped into Chrysler Corporation when the company was almost bankrupt. Through the sheer force of his personality, his unshakable determination, his appeals to Congress, to Chrysler workers and to Chrysler customers on television, he spearheaded a turn-around that will go down in the history books as one of the greatest achievements in American business.



The key to getting followers in every case is to “trust your subordinates.” Many studies have concluded that it is the mutual bond of trust and respect that acts as the catalyst that creates high performance. Not only must you trust your subordinates, but even more important, they must trust you.



In order to “get followers,” your subordinates must have an absolute belief in your integrity. They must believe that you will abide by the highest ethical standards of fairness and justice. Integrity appears over and over as the most important leadership quality. People can only put their whole hearts into their work when they feel secure and they can only feel secure when they can relax and trust you completely.



Here are two things you can do immediately to bring out the very best from the people who look up to you.


First, make people feel important. Tell them how important and valuable they are and then give them both the responsibility and the opportunity to do their job the very best they know how.


Second, set a good example. Be an inspirational leader by being a role model for everyone else to follow. The more people look up to you, the better they will do their work and the happier they will be.


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