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Alaina Love
Leadership author

Alaina Love

Alaina Love is co-author, with Marc Cugnon, of The Purpose Linked Organization and co-founder of Purpose Linked Consulting.

Got your game on?

Our current business woes were generated in great part by a sharp deviation from the fundamentals of sound economics and strong leadership. If I were to suggest how best to manage in 2010 and beyond, I would begin with a recommendation to get back to the basics of good leadership -- but with an even more intense focus on individuals.

The last time I checked, corporations were nothing more than legal entities. The employees who comprise the organization create the living system that makes the corporate engine hum or stall, based on the quality of their work experience everyday. And who has ultimate responsibility for influencing that experience? Leaders.

So here are four suggestions for leaders to apply in this new decade:

1. Be inspirational rather than cynical. If you want to motivate battle worn and weary employees and engage them in your vision for a better future, create a compelling reason for employees to join you on the journey to making your vision a reality. You can do this by being:

· Authentic, so that your words and actions are believable;

· Reliable, so that you establish firm goals and priorities allowing employees to understand what is expected of them;

· Anchored in the flow of the business and connected to current trends and issues;

· Optimistic, with a positive but realistic world view and a clear understanding about how the organization can succeed;

· Self-aware and clear about your own vulnerabilities and strengths, so that you can bring your best self to work and help others do the same;

· Driven by purpose and passion so that you encourage results by engaging others, rather than demanding results through fear;

· Inclusive, so that you maximize the input of everyone and recognize that good ideas can come from every level in the organization;

· More focused on helping others thrive than you are on personal gratification. In this way strong leaders build fabulous teams and success takes care of itself;

· Respectful and realistic about how much employees can accomplish with reduced resources. Even the finest Kentucky Derby winner needs food, water, rest and encouragement. If we would treat a champion racehorse with this care, why not do so with our employees?

· Focused on growing other leaders. Recognize that the most challenging times are the most essential time for employee development. If you want to keep people motivated, show them they are valued by investing in their professional growth. After all, no leader succeeds on his or her own.

2. Discover and utilize both the passions and skills of every member of your team and align employees with roles in which their passions can flourish. We have arrived at the precipice of a new wave of global competition where skill alone will not be enough to guarantee the best results. Passion is the new competitive edge. Be sure to make the most of it.

3. Create a clear, compelling and realistic vision of where the business is heading. While you may not be able to flawlessly anticipate every twist and turn in the year ahead, commit to a course and provide employees with the resources they need to stay the course. If they don't know where you are leading them, it's impossible for them to follow you. Instead, fear and confusion will escalate, while motivation and productivity decline.

4. Embody your organization's purpose and values. Nothing derails leadership credibility faster than behaviors that are contrary to the espoused values of the organization. Nothing confuses the workforce more than a leader who does not fully embrace the purpose and mission of the company. You are, after all, the anchor and ballast in challenging times.

Although economic indicators in recent weeks may look more positive, it is clear that we are entering the New Year with a legacy of issues from the last decade and additional challenges to face in the months ahead. Now is the time for courageous, decisive and caring leadership. Be sure to bring your best game to 2010....and beyond.

By Alaina Love

 |  January 5, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Category:  Economic crisis Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please report offensive comments below.

1.If there battle worn and weary,replace leadership. If a leader can't recognize tired staff, they shouldn't be leading.

2. AGreed

3. Strategic objectives are confidential.
Are we there yet? sound familiar

4."Nothing confuses the workforce more than a leader who does not fully embrace the purpose and mission of the company."

It should say "nothing makes it clearer to a work force , then termination of employees for upholding company purpose and mission.

5. In the end, if the boss pays for a nice vacation , you know you got there

Posted by: sulu1 | January 6, 2010 3:25 PM
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If this is basic MBA stuff as Teplicky101 suggests, then why aren't more leaders acting this way??
Seems to me, there is much to be learned from this article!

Posted by: Leadwell | January 6, 2010 11:52 AM
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This is standard, basic MBA stuff. Where's the meat, err, the added value?

Posted by: teplicky101 | January 5, 2010 2:28 PM
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