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Eight Leadership Techniques for Outstanding Teams

By Ed Sykes

Apply the following eight leadership techniques to create

highly motivated, self-directed, and extremely productive

employees and teams:

1. Provide Clear Expectations

Winning organizations know where they are going and what

is required to get there. Employees constantly need to know

what they need to accomplish. Communicating expectations

in a clear, concise manner is important. It‚s also important to

communicate your expectations on an individual,

department, and organizational level. Continue

communicating your expectations on an ongoing basis.

Whether one-on-one, through memos, or in a team meeting,

keep communicating your expectations.

2. Give Your Employees the Tools for Success

New computers are acquired, but no training is provided for

the computers; or worse, the training doesn‚t meet the need

of the employees to be successful. The policies are not

implemented or followed, so employees are hindered by

barriers. Time and time again I hear from employees in my

workshops that management doesn‚t give them the

necessary tools for success. Here‚s the secret: Ask your

employees what they need, and then give it to them.

3. Recognize Good Work

Take the time to recognize good work. Recognize employees

for finding solutions, failing less, learning more, taking

initiative, working with others, creating outstanding

customer service solutions, sharing ideas; and the list goes

on. You get the idea. Take time to give a sincere compliment

for work well done and you, your organization, and your

employees will reap the rewards.

4. Get Interested in Your Employees

Take the time to find out what interests your employees.

Find out what their passions are in life. Is it their families? Is

it a sport or hobby? Is it a vintage car or boat? Is it that

they want to accomplish the next level in their education? Is

it a career goal? Whatever it is, the great leaders take the

time to find out how to help their employees accomplish their

goals. Leaders know that by helping their employees

succeed in life, the employees will have more passion about

helping their leaders accomplish their goals.

5. Value Their Opinions

Employees want to be involved in the process at work.

Giving their opinions is one way to accomplish this. Take

the time to really listen to what your employees are saying.

Take the time to ask questions. Take the time to

acknowledge their opinions. Will all employees give

opinions in a positive way? No. Our job as a leader is to set

the parameters for giving opinions in such a way that states

a positive outcome for all. You might say, „Mike, you have a

lot of valuable ideas and I appreciate that you take the time

to share them. So that everyone gets the most out of your

ideas, please communicate them with a positive outcome in

mind.‰ Now you have set the tone for giving opinions. Also

take the time to really listen for the „gold nuggets‰ of

information when an employee gives you an opinion. They

are sharing an idea, a concern, or an emotion that you may

be able to address to help take your organization to the next


6. Grow Your Employees

Encourage your employees to develop themselves.

Encourage them to take classes, delegate tasks and

challenging assignments, and then provide support. I say

this because I run into employees who tell me the following:

„The company wants us to take additional classes and even

offers tuition reimbursement. However, when I ask my

manager to approve my request or when I actually take the

courses, he/she makes comments inferring that these classes

might interfere with work. That‚s not fair.‰

No, it‚s not fair. If your employees want to develop

themselves, support them. Be the Captain of Progress and

remove the barriers to development. Don‚t worry about

losing your employees. Once you do this, they will become

even more loyal to your goals and word will quickly spread

that you are the person to work for because you develop

your people for success.

7. Communicate the Progress

Many times I will ask the participants in our team building

program, „How often does your manager, supervisor, or vice

president sit down with you and give you a progress report,

informal evaluation, or job evaluation?‰ The majority of the

participants will say once or maybe twice a year during the

formal review progress.

This should never happen! Outstanding leaders realize that

ongoing communication is the key to outstanding

performance and that employees yearn for this feedback.

Outstanding leaders make sure their followers constantly

know where they stand. They are constantly communicating

with their employees in relationship to the overall goals.

They are constantly recognizing their employees‚ stellar

performances and coaching them in „areas of improvement.‰

Empathy, consistency, honesty, and a positive attitude when

giving employees feedback are important to the way the

employees receive the feedback.

8. Make Partners of Your Employees

Once we get past the money reason as to why people work

for you, we realize that one of the reasons why employees

work for your organization is the following: „I want to make

a difference.‰ Time and time again you will find people

working for organizations when they could easily be

compensated elsewhere far more than what they are actually

receiving; but they enjoy working for that organization

because they believe in the organization‚s mission, values,

and goals and believe they are making a difference in that


Make your employees your partner in achieving your goals.

Communicate the mission, values, and goals and ask them

how they see themselves in relationship to these goals. Ask

your employees for feedback on how to better accomplish

these goals. Involve them in the decision-making process

and let them have a vested interest in the success for the


Take these leadership steps today to take you, your

employees, and your teams to the next level of success.

About The Author
Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success

coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress

management, customer service, and team building. You can

e-mail him at or call him at

(757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,, and signup for the newsletter,

OnPoint, and receive either free ebook, "Empowerment and

Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional," or "Secrets of

Outstanding Customer Service."

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