Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Music at work is good for team building.

Also in this compendium: Avoid failure hypocrisy and 10 small (but important) steps you can take today

Here are 10 cut-to-the-chase tips to improve your management, from blogger-consultants Jesse Lyn Stoner and Lolly Daskal. You can also use them as a test to see how effective you are and where you need to improve.

Ms. Stoner offers five punchy, provocative questions that you may find uncomfortable to answer. If so, that's probably a good thing:

Story continues below advertisement

– What do you stand for? It's vital to know what you hold most dearly and to check you are upholding that belief.

– What do you strive for? You need challenging goals to move yourself and your organization forward. But she points out there is more to leadership than achieving results: "Great leaders set standards around character as well as results."

– How much do you need to be in control? Top leaders create opportunities for others to stretch themselves and assume responsibility.

– How do you see mistakes? Do you ask "What can we learn?" or "Who is to blame?"

– What do you really expect from your team? Your team will only be as successful as you believe it can be. "Your vision for your team arises from your own character, motives and beliefs. Your expectations for your team are a reflection of your expectations for yourself," she concludes.

In a separate post on her own blog, Ms. Daskal illuminates five important but often overlooked habits of great leaders:

– They admit mistakes. Nobody likes to admit they goofed but top leaders swallow their pride and admit they could have done better. They also learn from those mistakes, she adds.

Story continues below advertisement

– They give credit. They acknowledge the contributions of others, taking the spotlight off themselves. Being appreciated and recognized inspires subordinates to greater commitment and successes.

– They tell the truth. They express honest thoughts in a spirit of respect and kindness.

– They inspire. "It can be easy to lose the forest of leadership for the trees of the day-to-day challenges. But finding the energy and time to inspire those around you is at the heart of great leadership," she writes.

– They lead from within. They learn about themselves so they can lead others. They know that developing themselves will help to develop others.

2. The hypocrisy around failure

It's common these days to hear about the importance of failure. We need to take risks and act quickly in an ever-changing world. But creativity consultant Justin Brady finds that when he asks leaders to share an epic failure and what they learned, they are in fact reluctant to openly discuss their mistakes.

Story continues below advertisement

"Leaders don't want to feel vulnerable. They want to minimize their own failures. Doing so might seem harmless, but it's vitally important for leaders not only to accept failure with lip service but also to cop to their own specific failures," he writes in Harvard Business Review Blogs.

Not doing so is itself a failure, with four key consequences:

– If you can't admit failure, you can't connect to your team. Leaders look weak when they act like they know it all. "After all, a leader who has never failed at anything is either a human anomaly or a liar. Even if the specific failure isn't applicable to staff, simply admitting it helps them connect," he says.

– If you can't admit failure, you won't learn from it. To make the failure a positive experience, you must learn from it.

– If you can't admit failure, you won't tolerate it from others. You may preach that failure has to happen for your team to innovate and know enough not to punish failure. But it's likely that you will be signalling to others you're upset and unhappy if you lack comfort with your own failures. And that will shut things down, he says.

– If you can't admit failure, you'll find future failures tough to handle. This may seem obvious and thus trivial. But he says it's vital since you'll be hiding from failure forever rather than learning from it.

Story continues below advertisement

"Our failure hypocrisy is hurting our teams and our companies. If you're a leader, it's time for you to open up about failure. Yes, it will be embarrassing at first, but you will learn more and watch your team – and you – grow stronger," he concludes.

3. What you can do today

Toronto-based consultant Sam Geist was listening to another speaker at a conference recently who was discussing the importance of being present in the moment – living in today. "She mentioned several times that today is all we've really got," he recalls in his Quick Bites e-newsletter. "I realized that this mindset is also as appropriate to our business lives as it is to our personal ones."

That led him to outline these 10 business actions you could take today:

– Take action on at least two promises today.

– Learn something new today.

Story continues below advertisement

– Compliment an employee on something they have done well today, today.

– Be positive, encouraging, motivating and patient all day, today.

– Call two or three prospective clients today.

– Call an old client to tell them you are thinking about them today.

– Solve a problem you were told about today.

– Put in an extra 18 minutes of productive work today.

Story continues below advertisement

– Treat your co-workers with respect and dignity today.

– Refresh, rethink, and meditate for 10 minutes today.

4. Quick hits

– Businesses use music to soothe and encourage customers. But music also can have an impact on employees. Happy, upbeat music at work increases co-operation and teamwork, new Cornell University research shows.

– Leaders like to borrow best practices from more successful workplaces. But leadership blogger Ron Edmondson says you should borrow principles, not practices. Principles are almost always transferable but practices seldom are.

– When travelling, increase your consumption of water. Productivity consultant James Womack suggests one cup an hour. If that inspires more tips to the washroom, the activity – and cleansing of your system – should be welcomed.

– Ask job candidates "what kind of work do you avoid doing?" Christa Quarles, chief executive officer of OpenTable, says there's always a part of someone's job they hate and she likes to understand what it is, as well as what excites them.

– If you tend to use a set of PowerPoint slides as the base for different presentations, Mississauga-based consultant Dave Paradi recommends using the software's Custom Show feature, which allows you to create and name different shows with different arrangements of the slides.

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. E-mail Harvey Schachter

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies