Here are 55 quick and easy ways to take your leadership skills to the next level. Let them inspire you, and you'll soon be more productive than ever.
Sometimes, the most useful advice is the advice that you can tape above your desk, in order to have a daily reminder. Here are more than 50 thought-provoking questions, statements and truisms in the categories that most managers encounter daily. So print them out, tape them up and prepare to see inspiration in front of you every day.
The best goals are...
Few in number, specific in focus
Not too hard, not too easy
Mutually agreed upon
Visualized and written down
Imagine you were doing the task for the first time--how would you do it differently from the way you are doing it now?
If you had to, how could you do the task twice as fast? Five times as fast? Ten times as fast?
Do you really need to do the task? What would happen if you skipped it?
What would be a completely different way of doing the task?
Who can do the task better or more efficiently?
Innovation and Creativity
The heart of creativity is making new connections--constantly seek out new connections
Ask "What if?" or develop "what-if" scenarios
Consider approaches you've never considered before
Brainstorm with others
Capitalizing on Opportunities
What's good about a recent change? What can you do to make it great?
What other aspects of your business are impacted by a change?
Many opportunities are disguised as problems--find them
If it's important, make it personal
Choose the best time for maximum impact
More communication is not necessarily better communication
What actions give you the greatest impact?
What one thing will you do differently? How will you keep your commitment to doing that one thing?
Ask: How will a new strategy improve the organization's competitiveness?
How will it be perceived by customers?
What's the long-term impact of your planned actions?
Start on time and end when you said you would
Have an agenda
Only invite the people who should be in the meeting
Create action items with schedules
Do your most important task first
If your most important task is too difficult, divide it into smaller tasks
Have a system for managing your time
Do it now!
If you can't do it now, do it quickly (you can always make improvements later)
Remember: It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission
Have clear rules and expectations
Compromise to make progress
Listen more than you talk
Influence = Power
People are persuaded differently, so find out where the hot buttons are
Individually ask for people's support
Create a file of new people you meet each day, and the context in which you met them
Seek out people who can help you achieve your goals
Join a professional association and be an active participant
Doing Your Homework
Get background on the situation
Think it through
Anticipate additional needs
Above and Beyond
Deliver more than you promise
Do it better than you did before
Imagine what would "wow" the other person
90 percent of the value occurs in the last 1 percent of effort
Always do your best
Never, never ever give up
Learn something new each day
Learn from mistakes
Ask others how they would have done something
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PETER ECONOMY is the best-selling author of Managing For Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 60 other books. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years. @bizzwriter