Consistency will convey an authentic and genuine leadership style. Leaders have to find his or her own effective communication style – and stick with it.
Large companies have to work hard to ensure consistent communications, but smaller firms face the same challenge, especially because they may rely so heavily on informal conversation. Informality is fine, but staying “on message” is critical.
Leaders must resist the temptation to insulate themselves from the day-to-day concerns of their employees. It would be easy to surround oneself with advisors and consultants – but successful leaders invest as much time as possible learning more about their employees and their businesses.
Today’s leaders need to seize opportunities to spend time managing or studying overseas businesses to gain a wealth of knowledge and diversity of experience.
Seize opportunities to listen and learn, but don’t let the ocean of options overwhelm you. Gather facts, understand options, and decide.
Stay focused to ensure you have both the solid foundation of expertise and the diversity of experience that you will need to succeed.
Take time to listen and learn from colleagues and competitors.
Maintain a humble and graceful style to keep trust and build (and re-build) respect.
A manager with a specific area of expertise, especially one that truly inspires him or her, will be better equipped not only to make decisions, but also to motivate others.
To relate to your team, share some of your vulnerabilities or fears, whether they are personal or professional. Remember to choose the right time and place – an off-site retreat, for instance, might be more effective than a high-pressure work situation.
Nothing – not plans, incentives, or vision – can compete with a leader’s genuine, heartfelt commitment for motivating the troops. Describing one’s personal experience in a business situation is tricky, and must be done with tact, grace, and respect.
A skillful and authentic leader can build political capital by admitting vulnerabilities. Your employees are much more likely to view you as a multi-faceted, down-to-earth individual than to fear you and an unapproachable demi-god. A culture of fear may be profitable, but it isn’t sustainable; a culture of respect is both.
Skillful leaders have found many ways to ensure their importance: doing their boss’s dirty work, building a network of allies, developing distinctive expertise, creating communities of followers – and better yet, all of the above. Identify your strengths and make sure you are leveraging them to succeed.
Only exceptional leaders possess a precise sense of self-awareness, but other great leaders have compensated for this lack of skill by continually asking trusted advisors for honest, objective feedback.
Let your staff and colleagues see you as a multi-faceted human being – you can be aggressive yet affable, friendly yet fierce. It’s something only the most skillful, experienced, and genuine executives can master, and can lead to being both respected and liked.

Leadership Power Plays

We culled the most provocative, interesting, and useful strategies and tactics from Leadership Power Plays that can inspire innovative thinking and problem-solving in your own business, department, or company. Share these strategies with your colleagues and team members, with your employees, or use them to benchmark your own practices. And most of all, use these power plays as a launching pad to write your own "Playbook" to ensure you stay at the top of your game.

More Power Plays

More Playbooks and Tip Sheets