Four Steps to Better Leadership

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , March 12, 2010

I wasn't hounding them to do the work quickly or to cut corners. I was offering to help by doing the crappiest jobs myself, leaving my own work to wash out the paintbrushes and rollers and haul supplies to where people were working. I recalled an instance where the publisher at a publication where I previously worked jumped in to help when the newspaper's production was delayed due to no fault of our own. He could've just gone home. He could've screamed and yelled. Instead he helped us achieve the goal.

The morale boost from that act was incalculable, and I know for a fact that when it came time for us to achieve goals that he set, we remembered.

4. Never take any player for granted
Many will tell you not to take a key player for granted. That's good advice. But it's also great advice never to take even a slower or non-key player for granted. I spent a lot of time last weekend helping people who weren't great painters find the right paint, the right tools, and directing where the action should be taking place when I had expected to be doing a lot of the work myself.

For instance, it took me three hours to paint a closet because I spent so much time being interrupted to get people started on other important jobs. I tried never to show any frustration with being interrupted. Instead, I got people going on something else, praised their competence, and returned to my closet when that task was successfully under way.

Guess what? The house was fully primed and we even had time to tackle some other jobs that I never expected we would have time to do. I offer these examples not because I am so proud of myself for my leadership abilities. And I'm not sharing them with you because I feel like I've uncovered some great revelation about successful leadership, but sometimes, we all need a refresher course.

I got mine last weekend.

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Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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