3 Extremely Do-Able Leadership Tips for Success


“Sometimes you have to take a break from being the kind of boss that’s always trying to teach people things. Sometimes you just have to be the boss of dancing.”

-Michael Scott, The Office


As perpetually clueless and annoying as Michael Scott was, his beloved character grew on the people he managed and on all of us, a likely reason the show came to a close not long after his character exited the series. When it comes down to it, he had one part of the equation of a great manager, he had the love. The part he lacked was that whole managing people to be productive thing. Clearly, in real life, that half is essential if one wants to make it as a leader, but so is being thoughtful and inspiring. Many of today’s leader have just a few pieces of the puzzle and it’s the soft skills that can be difficult for organization’s to teach.

A recent Brandon Hall study revealed an astounding 70% of surveyed organizations feel their leadership development practices are below average or poor. Does that statistic include your organization?

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If you’re a part of that stat, there’s a very small chance it’s going to change overnight. And if it you’re not, well, there is always room for improvement, especially when you think you don’t need it. Start improving your leadership skills today with these 3 easy tips for successful leadership.

Own your role like a boss…because you are the boss

One thing Michael Scott had, without question: confidence. And it worked. If you can convince your team, who already has a questionable opinion about your management style, to have a mid-day dance party in a musty broom closet, you’re doing something right. 70% of employees who lack confidence in the leadership of the organization are not fully engaged. Even if you don’t necessarily have confidence, it’s important to appear confident. “Fake it ‘til you make it,” right? Try these leadership tips for managers who lack confidence:

Be precise. When communicating with people, especially your team, get to the point. Avoid fluff. Stories can be great for demonstrating a point, but can also be interpreted as a nervous habit so choose your words wisely.

Speak slowly. Everyone processes information at a different pace. It’s never bad to take your time explaining something. This way your team absorbs every word. Speaking slowly also helps avoid sounding anxious or unsure.

Smile more. Smiling is contagious and gives people the impression you are open, approachable and have your head on straight. It also releases endorphins, making you feel happier!

Read about the Most Valuable Practice for Leadership Growth

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Don’t underestimate the power of transparency

96% of job seekers say it’s important to work for a company that embraces transparency. Whether he knew it or not, Michael Scott was exhaustingly transparent. Transparency has changed what today’s definition of professionalism is and it creates a more engaging and trusting atmosphere for employees. This leadership tip takes concerted effort, but the payoff is worth it.

Tweet This: 96% of job seekers say this is important when researching companies they want to work for:

Try this: Start building on your transparency skills now by upping your clarity on expectations with employees. Be unnecessarily clear on details of projects and performance goals. If it helps, write out your thoughts before speaking with employees.

Read about 5 Go-To Tips for Compensation Communication

Connect with people on a personal level

Inspiration is hardly born from a cut and dry, robotic leadership style. Quite the opposite. In fact, recent Gallup research found, “More than half of employees who strongly agree that they feel they can talk with their manager about nonwork-related issues (55%) and can approach their manager with any type of question (54%) are engaged at work.” Michael Scott had the personal touch down, even if, in his case, it was incredibly intrusive and unwanted. This tip for successful leadership is perhaps the easiest one, with the most satisfying outcome.

What you can do: set time aside to engage in casual conversation with employees. It’s amazing what a few minutes of chitchat about how Jeff’s son scored 3 goals or how Margie got an A in her Masters-level accounting course she attends at night can do for building trust and engagement.

Read about 10 Quick Tips to Increase Your Productivity

Lessons from a legend

“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”

The idea of professionalism is changing as employees today are increasingly driven and engaged by thoughtful, transparent and confident leadership. What Michael Scott teaches us is the power of the precious soft skills many of today’s leaders need now more than ever.

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