Leadership tips for corporate managers

Successful leaders have to have much more than industry knowledge and technical savvy. Traditional strengths must be complemented with soft skills and intangibles. That means leaders must be able to relate to their charges on a personal level. The following list suggests some helpful objectives for leaders as well as some suggestions for how to attain them.

Make people feel valued by:
•regularly monitoring and appreciating each team member’s work;

•sharing an interest in whatever employees hold important;

•creating a good working environment by being approachable;

•ensuring all employees understand the importance of their contribution to the team’s objectives; and

•ensuring everyone understands the functions of the organization and the role that each employee’s efforts play in its success.

Provide a challenge and scope for development by:
•setting targets after consultation, and reviewing them at regular intervals;

•providing relevant training, where appropriate, by using experts to train others in the specialist skills they may have;

•arranging any necessary internal and external contact;

•restructuring or grouping tasks to use employees’ skills to the fullest;

•rotating jobs to broaden experience;

•providing scope and context for employees to take greater responsibility;

•thoroughly training at least one assistant; and

•soliciting ideas and suggestions; encouraging listening; delegating and allowing staff to make decisions and to implement them.

Recognize achievements by:
•praising and communicating individual successes;

•reporting regularly to the team on team progress; and

•holding regular meetings with each individual to monitor and counsel progress.

Although much exchange of feedback takes place within appraisal systems, reinforce it well on a regular basis by using time-targeted reminders.

Trish Jacobson is vice-president of HR at Pomona, Calif.-based HMO Inter Valley Health Plan.

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