Science of Self ™ Knowledge Centre

100 Tips on Leadership & Communication for Managers

Jun 25, 2017

Drawing on a wide range of resources, this article pulls together some of the best "quick tips" on leadership and communication for managers.

  1. Think of leadership as a privilege, not a right (see Servant Leadership)
  2. Think of your #1 job as turning people into leaders (see Transformational Leadership)
  3. Leading is not about you; it’s about others and the organisation (see Level 5 Leadership)
  4. Have a balanced concern for people and results (see Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid)
  5. Adjust your focus/style to their skill/readiness level (see Situational Leadership)
  6. Minimise weaknesses. Focus on strengths (see Strengths-Based Leadership)
  7. Be Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Coherent, Complete, Courteous (see the  7 C's of Communication)
  8. Understand people’s basic communication preferences (see DISC Model)
  9. Be a coach. Don’t tell; help them solve their own problems (see GROW Model)
  10. Get employees in the habit of thinking through solutions or options, instead of saying “there’s a problem—what should I do?” (See 7 Levels of Initiative)
  11. Assume noble intent (See Hanlon’s Razor)
  12. Understand people’s intrinsic motivations (see Motivators Model)
  13. Be the leader you always wanted to work for
  14. Imagine people are unpaid volunteers. How would you treat them differently? (Peter Drucker)
  15. How much you care usually matters far more to people than how much you can do
  16. What you say is often less important than how you say it
  17. Put your ego aside
  18. Nobody is faultless or infallible; don’t pretend to be
  19. Admit your mistakes fast
  20. If you don’t know, don’t bluff
  21. Remember, a leader’s mood is contagious
  22. Be present and mindful (see Mindfulness)
  23. Don’t try to be interesting; be interested (Dale Carnegie)
  24. Don’t “talk” about having integrity; demonstrate it
  25. Don’t blame
  26. Don’t micromanage
  27. Never yell
  28. Get to know your team members as people
  29. Understand that non-financial rewards can have a more lasting impact on engagement than financial rewards, e.g., a sincere “I appreciate you” can have more impact than a $500 bonus
  30. Imagine everyone is wearing a large sign saying “MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT” (Mary Kay Ash)
  31. Keep a record of small personal details (e.g., when someone mentions their grandmother has a birthday in 6 months)
  32. Avoid management speak or excessive jargon
  33. Don’t use “big words” to impress
  34. Don’t raise your voice or lose your cool, even if others do
  35. Don’t assume people are mostly rational creatures
  36. Don’t change your mind without explanation
  37. Encourage development by sharing learning resources (e.g., articles, videos, online courses)
  38. Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people smarter than you
  39. Place more emphasis on the results than following a particular path
  40. Communicate an “open door policy”
  41. Post regular updates on your intranet site
  42. Create a “team highlights” newsletter recognising milestones/contributions
  43. Redesign your office space to make it more warm/inviting
  44. Give an extra hour for lunch
  45. Have a “suggestions box” (or portal)
  46. Facilitate group interactions
  47. Schedule an outdoor meeting
  48. Schedule an offsite retreat
  49. Attend a conference as a team
  50. Allow for fun, playtime, laughter, socialising, etc
  51. Self-deprecating humour builds bridges
  52. Avoid sarcastic comments and put downs
  53. You don’t need to decide everything immediately (e.g., “My initial thoughts are… but I will think about what you said and provide a more concrete answer tomorrow”)
  54. Your candor level should match your employees’ trust level (candor without trust can feel brutal)
  55. Seek first to understand (Stephen Covey)
  56. Be an active, attentive listener (see Active Listening)
  57. Don’t judge
  58. Don’t interrupt
  59. Criticise ideas, not people
  60. Give constructive feedback (considerate, task specific, shifting focus away from the individual)
  61. Balance positive and negative feedback
  62. Criticise in private, praise in public
  63. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way
  64. Feedback should be ongoing; not every 6 months or 12 months
  65. As a general rule, don’t allow more than 7 days to give recognition or praise
  66. Have one-on-ones; not just group meetings
  67. Ask yourself: could this meeting be an email?
  68. Give meetings constraints/time limits to focus discussion
  69. Don’t have meetings for meetings sake
  70. Show that you’re willing to “jump in” and get your hands dirty
  71. Look for common ground
  72. Check for understanding. Don’t just explain the task and move on
  73. Connect daily work to strategic goals
  74. Explain why the task is important or meaningful
  75. Explain how the work connects to a larger goal
  76. Explain why the company mission or purpose matters
  77. Even if you won’t always agree, ensure people know their opinions will be heard
  78. Create a safe environment for dissenting opinions
  79. Ask for feedback to improve
  80. Be transparent
  81. Never take credit for others’ work
  82. Don’t kill the messenger of bad news
  83. Don’t sacrifice teamwork for competition
  84. Assume that every email you write will be read in public one day
  85. Email should be avoided for difficult/sensitive conversations
  86. Remember, the buck stops with you
  87. Don't speak to fill the silence
  88. Don’t punish the whole group with a new policy every time someone does something wrong
  89. Don’t gossip about others
  90. Don’t disclose confidential information about others
  91. Give people the right tools and get out of their way
  92. Don’t create an artificial sense of urgency
  93. “Because I’m the boss” is a poor rationale
  94. “Because I say so” is a poor rationale
  95. “Because I pay you” is a poor rationale
  96. Be a champion; challenge the status quo on your people’s behalf
  97. Ensure goals, roles, responsibilities are crystal clear
  98. Set stretch goals
  99. Give examples of the results you want
  100. Don’t expect people to read your mind

Topics: Leadership

Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."


Welcome to Science of Self™ 

Our knowledge centre holds over 400 articles shared through the Science of Self™ newsletter. The topics are relevant to the fields of talent management, human resources, organisational development and business growth.

As the title suggests, we take an evidence-based approach to sharing content about people in the context of work. If you like what you see, consider signing up below!

Newsletter Sign-Up

Designed For You

Going out every 3 weeks, the Science of Self™ newsletter brings interesting, fresh and topical content to professionals in Talent Management, Human Resources, Learning & Development, People & Culture, Organisational Development, General Management and Consulting.

100% Privacy. No Spam.

Recent Posts

The Future of Work

Looking for a practical guide to help you rewire your business for the future of work?

Read More