In today's marketplace, leading a company to success can be difficult. A stagnant economy, increased unemployment rates, and unpredictable market changes make many employees uncertain of what to do. Therefore, you need a strong, effective leader at the company or department's helm to ensure business growth.

During such times, many executives spend countless hours on ways to cut costs or jumpstart revenues. What they fail to realize is that if they don't have the necessary leadership skills to run their business and to implement the changes correctly, those countless hours will have been wasted. With that in mind, do you have what it takes to lead your business to success? Here are a few practical leadership tips that may help.

  • Stand by your team. People need to know you're in their corner.
    Support equals motivation. Let your team see and hear you cheering them on. If they know they have your support, they will feel more motivated to do their jobs well. If you have resources that may help them achieve their goals, share them. It will make everyone's job easier. A little encouragement, along with the right resources, can create amazing results.

  • Cultivate relationships.
    Take the time to get to know your team members. Meet with them one-on-one with no interruptions. You'll be amazed at what you find out. When people know you care, they'll be more inclined to work harder.

  • Acknowledge a job well done.
    Let people know they make a difference. When people hear a compliment they are more apt to repeat the behaviors that got them the compliment in the first place. Also, let others know if someone else praised them. It can be a great motivator, and it serves as a double dose of recognition.

  • Have a clear vision.
    Your team needs direction and they want you to lead the way. The first step is to envision where you are going and how you will get there. When you have established a clear vision, shape and share it with your team. This ensures that everyone is moving in the same direction so your efforts are more focused.

  • Set specific, challenging, yet attainable outcomes for members of your team.
    When you set specific goals from the beginning, you can avoid unnecessary surprises in the end. It allows your team to more easily check their progress and ensures that they know what your expectations are.

  • Recognize that "my way or the highway" tactics don't work today.
    People want to be heard and they want choices. Keep an open mind and listen to your team's ideas. Perhaps your way would work, but their way might be even better. New ideas can increase productivity.

  • Think and talk in terms of "we."
    This approach reminds you and your team that you're all in it together. No one wants to feel like they are working on a project alone. When there is a sense of unity, people are more likely to help each other, which will result in the job getting done more effectively and efficiently.

  • Share your principles and live by them (in other words, practice what you preach).
    People want to know what you stand for, and they want to see that your values and beliefs guide you. Your team will learn more from what they see you do than from what you tell them. If you lead with the right example, they will respond with your high standards.

  • Say it isn't so. Squelch the rumors. Kill the grapevine.
    Rumors can wreak havoc on an organization. The key is to squelch rumors before they begin to spread, and you can do this by simply keeping your team informed. If everyone knows exactly what is going on, the chances for rumors to arise will decrease dramatically.

  • Go slow to go fast.
    People need to understand why a change will occur and how they will be affected. Once they have the foundation, they are better prepared to move ahead. Failure to provide the "why" "and" "how" could result in a "go fast to go slow" process.

  • Use humor in your daily interactions.
    A good laugh can be a great stress reliever. It makes people feel relaxed and renewed, which in turn creates a more positive environment.

  • Provide training and development for everyone.
    People want to know that they are valued and they want to have marketable skills. Providing training opportunities proves that you care about your team's professional development and will result in a higher level of productivity.

  • Run participatory meetings that are well planned.
    If people are going to take the time to come to your meeting, you should take the time to plan it. No one likes going to meetings that are disorganized and boring. People want to be involved and to have their time respected. Your meetings will be much more productive when everyone is playing an active role.

  • Network. Attend community events, the theatre, and industry conferences.
    You may think it's difficult to find good talent, but it is out there. It's just a matter of looking in the all kinds of places.

  • Spur creativity by yielding to the child within you.
    Play with toys. Mold clay. Paint with your fingers. Playfulness and freedom foster creativity. You'll be surprised at what you come up with when you unleash your imagination.

  • If you see a problem, fix it.
    Whether it's a process, a way of thinking or a machine, if it is not working
    properly, fix it as soon as possible. People do not need to be burdened when
    trying to produce services and products.

  • Do it now. Don't let things get in the way.
    Take a good, long look at your priorities. Many of the tasks and chores that dominate our time are urgent, but not necessarily important. Don't let the urgent drive out the important!

  • Schedule time for reading trade journals, business briefs, newspapers and books.
    As a leader, your team should see you as a resource. When you are informed, you can provide valuable information that will help them accomplish their goals. The more informed you are, the more informed your employees will be.

  • Bring forward in your mind the process you used when you accomplished previous successes.
    If it worked before, why not try it again? Instead of wasting valuable time trying to come up with an entirely different plan, try to think of ways to improve on the one that worked previously. You triumphed then and you can again.

  • Be more, not less, available in times of change.
    When your organization is going through a change, you should limit meetings and other commitments that may take you away from your team. People need you most during these times. When they have questions, you need to be there with an answer.

Effective leaders are not born; they are made. By using these tips, you can lead your team through any situation and attain the business growth and corporate profits you desire.


About the Author:
Joanne G. Sujansky, Ph.D., CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is the founder of KEYGroup® and the author of six books, including
The Keys to Mastering Leadership

. KEYGroup® provides Joanne Sujansky's keynote speeches, books and tapes as well as corporate leadership programs based on Dr. Sujansky's founding principles of "Unlocking The Leader Within." Reach her at 724-942-7900 or at

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