The last article I wrote on the topic of leadership was my 1,400th post on this blog. I said I had 28 leadership and management lessons I wanted to share and decided to break it up so the article wouldn't be like a tome.

leadership tips

Therefore, this is part 2 of 28 original lessons, and not only do I expect it to be as good as it can possibly be, but if it hits 2,500 words like the other one did then I've done what I set out to do. As always, I hope you find something useful here, and if you have any comments or questions I'd love for you to share them with me. Let's get started!

1. A good manager has to learn delegation; you can't do it all, period

Delegation is one of the most delicate areas of leadership. Leaders don't want to be seen as doing nothing but giving other people work and doing none, but they also don't want to take on the mantle of doing so much work that they're not leading.

Unless self employed, leaders aren't supposed to actually do as much of a daily work as everyone else. They need to know the processes of everything and they need to be able to help modify those processes when necessary. This means that leaders need to be ready to help train, create policy and procedure manuals, and of course offer solutions when things aren't going smoothly. They also need to learn how to delegate work to those trained to do it instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses.

If you're not doing the work every day you're not going to remember every single thing. If you're a good leader, you'll have not only trained your people so well that they can offer their opinions on improvements but they're willing to offer those opinions because you've empowered them enough for them to care.

2. A good manager gets people to trust them; once it's lost, you'll never get it back

There are two ways leaders can get people to do what they want them to do. One way is bullying them; the other way is getting them to trust you.

The problem with bullying is it's a short term solution. Either employees leave or the leader eventually gets tossed. No one wants to work for a bully, and few people above the bully want to deal with potential consequences.

Earning people's trust is a totally different thing. It can be easily lost with a really stupid mistake, but once you've earned people's trust it takes something truly grievous to lose it. When people trust you, they'll do everything they can to make you look good. When you trust people you'll do anything you can to help them. Trust leads to a great symbiotic relationship. Even when people might not like each other, trust can bring them together for common goals.

3. There's no company loyalty, only personal loyalty

The concept of companies as families was never true, but it sounded good. Many people worked for the same company most of their lives, rarely leaving unless being dismissed. These days an employer should count themselves lucky if an employee stays more than 2 years. The same feeling is had by employees about their employer.

This is where having good leaders becomes important. Leaders at the top set corporate identity. If they have policies that are employee friendly and honest, they'll find loyalty building. If it doesn't happen at the top and you're a mid level leader, you can build loyalty within your department. Sometimes it takes courage because you need to be willing to go to bat for your employees when necessary. Personal loyalty is always stronger than corporate loyalty; you know that from interactions with your friends and family.

4. Humor is a good thing, not a bad thing

Leaders aren't supposed to be comics, but they don't have to be stoics either. Being able to laugh or engage others with an easy manner helps make one a good leader. Being easy going rather than someone always on the edge makes everyone relax, which helps people concentrate on their work better.

5. Always try to see all sides of the issues, no matter which way you may lean

The workplace isn't supposed to be political, which means everything doesn't have to be an absolute. You as a leader can have a point of view on something work related, but you should have your mind open enough to hear what someone else has to offer.

The further removed you are from the actual work, the more you need to rely on the opinions of those actually doing the work. Things are always changing, and if you're stuck with old realities that don't fit what's going on you're going to suffer; no one wants that.

6. Don't be afraid to tell people when they do good; also, don't be afraid to tell people when they're wrong

When you're a leader, it's imperative that you let people know that you appreciate when they do good work. It's also important to let people know when they're not doing good work and when they've made a mistake.

The main thing is to not make a big deal out of someone making a mistake if it's not a common occurrence, but making sure people feel that you're honestly appreciative when they do something that's good. Encouragement works in both directions, and addressing both in an appropriate manner always makes everybody better.

7. Don't always agree just because it's the easiest way out; however, at times it doesn't hurt until you think it's the right time

johnhain via Pixabay

The thing about being a leader is that you have to be a leader. Leaders never take the easiest way out unless it's appropriate. You will find there are times when you can't do everything for an employee, whether it's because company policy is against it, you're not comfortable with it, or you just don't want to do it.

It's also important not to immediately dismiss everything like parents do sometimes with their children. For instance, if a lot of employees want to get together on a Friday night and you're comfortable enough to be around them for an hour or so, then go ahead and do it. If it's something that's beyond your comfort zone, don't do it. It's great to build up camaraderie, but if you're in a situation where you feel you not going to do well then stay true to yourself.

8. Don't be afraid to tell those above you or below you that you don't know; you can always find the answers later

There's not a person in the world that knows everything. You can be the best at whatever it is you do and not know everything. If you're asked a question and you don't know what the answer is, acknowledge that but say you'll try to find out what the actual answer is. People will appreciate being told the truth, and sometimes not knowing the answer upfront humanizes you and people gain respect because you are honest with them.

If you do this, you need to be prepared for two things. One, try to find out what the answer is and make sure you get back to the person. Two, if you can't find the answer, and that happened on occasion, you still go back to the person and let them know you can find answer. Follow-up is something that a lot of people in leadership don't do, and it's one of the biggest gripes employees have. Always make sure you get back to someone if you've committed to something.

9. Give people what they need in order to do the job right, even if it's only pen and paper so they can take good notes

No matter what the job is, if the person doing it doesn't have all the knowledge they need to do it right then it's a wasted effort on their part. The same thing goes for leaders, which means it goes for everybody.

Training should never stop for anybody. We're always in a state of needing to learn something new, so it's important to make sure everybody knows what's going on when their updates. At the same time, it never hurts to go over what you believe everybody already knows because over time it's common that someone might have forgotten part of the process. If you as a leader haven't kept up on it, it's more your fault than theirs.

10. Leaders aren't always right, but they should try to be

If life was perfect we all make the correct decision all the time. Unfortunately it's not, so we can only be as good as our knowledge allows us to be. As I mentioned earlier, is nothing wrong with telling people you don't know something and then going to find the answer. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to be an authority and still say you want to verify something before you give an answer.

When I was in a leadership position, I admit that I always wanted to be right. That means I never took chances on giving a wrong answer because I felt that if I was wrong it would mess up my credibility long-term. Of course it doesn't work that way, but it was a feeling I had so I went out of my way to verify information before I passed it on. There were enough times where I would've been incorrect if I had said what was immediately in my mind that I realized it's a pretty good policy to follow.

11. You're going to lose people eventually; just make sure it's not because of you

I count myself as a lucky leader in the years when I was an employee and had employees who worked for me. It was rare that I had employees leave, but I realize it wasn't always about me. But I also realized that when I did have a few people leave, they left for better opportunities or because they had to move rather than leaving because of something I did.

Always try to train leaders and very good technicians of whatever the job is that your employees have to do. It's important for your legacy and the respect you're hoping to earn from others that employees are better for having the opportunity to work with you that gives them the opportunity to look for advancement in other places if they can't get it where they are. They will appreciate it, and the employees who don't leave will appreciate it and the better employees are that stay the better your results will be.

12. The people who work for you might not be as good at the job as you were.

I like to call this the Frank Robinson rule. Frank Robinson was a great baseball player, and MVP in both leagues, multiple times in All-Star, the first black manager in professional baseball, and obviously a Hall of Famer. His first go round as a manager didn't go well because he pushed his players hired because he wanted them to be the same kind of player he was.

The problem was he was Frank Robinson and they weren't. Even though they were professionals, none of them had the kind of talent he had when he was a player. So his first foray into management didn't go well and he didn't last long. The second time he was a baseball manager, he realized that he could bring players to their potential instead of his, and his teams were a lot more successful.

If you got promoted to a leadership position because you were good at doing a job, congratulations. Expecting that everyone can do things as well as you because you did it will reduce your effectiveness and possibly ease you out of your company. Maybe when it's time for you to replace employees that have left you can try to find someone who has the skills that you had, but it's always better to try to find the talents that each employee has to make them better and hope that some of them can be better than you. Just don't count on it all the time.

13. You're not a mind reader, but people will think you are.

As a leader, you can try to stay in touch with your employees as much as possible but since you're not among them for long periods of time is only so much you can know outside of the work they do. If you have more than five employees, there's just no way you can always know what's going on.

Where the employees have it easier is that it's just you, and they believe they know what's going on because it's just you but when you think about it you know they have no clue. If you know they have no clue, then their expectation that you know everything that's going on is unrealistic, but that doesn't mean they're going to think about it any differently.

Therefore you have to be prepared when an employee comes to you with an issue that they think you already know about. I've known a lot of leaders who will give snap answers or responses or solutions without taking any time to find out what's really going on because they think they're supposed to know something that there's no way they could know it. It's an easy trap to fall into because it catches you off guard, but you have to try to stay consistent with decisions.

No matter what someone brings to you, if you really don't know much about it you need to investigate it first. Just like earlier where I said you need to learn about employees before you make decisions about them, the same thing applies here.

14. You never have a right to yell at anyone, and don't have to take it either.

I have never yelled at anybody in a work situation, employee or customer. I have had some of them yell at me, and I've handled it to my satisfaction if not theirs, at least initially.

Good leaders do not take their anger out on anybody, and they don't reflect someone else's anger back at them whenever possible. Yelling at people doesn't work outside of the job, so why would it work within the business?

Don't yell at anybody, don't cuss anybody, don't demean anybody, don't shame anybody, don't condescend to anybody… In other words, treat people fairly and calmly and with respect. Always treat people the way you want to be treated, but don't be afraid to teach them a lesson without yelling when it's needed. In other words, if you have to stand up for yourself do it, but do it in such a way that they feel ashamed for how they came you. Not only does it work, but if it's an employee or someone above you they will never do it again.

And there you are, 14 more leadership and management lessons that followed up my last article where I gave 14 of the same. Have I missed any that you would like me to explore more? Let me know, and have a great day.

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