Lindsay LaNore: Quick wins in leadership

woman working on computer

By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA

When it comes to leadership, gains are often seen as the result of considerable time and effort, and sometimes doing the groundwork for future successes can feel labor intensive. But there are some simple, practical steps you can take to score quick wins that have long-term results.

Here are a few ideas to start with:

1. Read up on your industry.
Set aside a solid chunk of time each day to read or listen to a trusted source. It could be with your morning coffee, at lunchtime or during your commute—or in place of it, if you’re working from home.

2. Proofread your emails.
Slow down. Check for typos. Make sure you’ve spelled the recipient’s name correctly. Also, check for tone and clarity. And, of course, don’t hit “reply all” unless you mean to.

3. Stay positive.
Do something that brings you joy. Then pass that feeling on.

4. Prepare for every meeting.
You don’t need to know everything, but you should be thorough.

5. Schedule time to focus.
Identify the times of day when you feel the most alert and set them aside to work on more challenging tasks.

6. Be on time.
Chronic tardiness can come across as careless or even rude. Leave extra time to make sure that you are punctual.

7. Never be satisfied with doing the minimum.
Always aim high, then go above and beyond when the situation calls for it.

8. Set short-term and long-term goals.
Revisit them frequently. We’re often good at setting goals but fall short on our check-ins with them. Make a commitment to progress.

9. Never assume you know everything.
Stay open.

10. Talk less and listen more.
Knowledge is power. Besides, the more you talk, the more likely you are to say something you’ll regret.

11. View missteps as opportunities to learn.
Admit you made them. Ask what went wrong and why. Learn from them. Then move on.

12. Embrace learning.
Acquiring a new skill expands your horizons. It also helps keep your mind agile.

13. Always remember the value of networking.
It invites new ideas and it gives you a chance to help others.

14. Be willing to challenge your own thinking.
Recognize unhealthy or rigid thought habits and practice getting outside your comfort zone.

15. Dress professionally.
Present yourself the way you want to feel and set the standard for everyone around you.

16. Avoid office drama.
Focus on your goals, treat everyone equally and be a positive role model.

17. Appreciate the value in every job you’ve had along the way.
Every step you took made you who you are today, and it’s a great reminder that every team member plays an important role.

18. Ask for help when you need it.
Don’t be afraid to reach out. It can give the other person a boost, too.

19. Let others shine.
It costs you nothing.

20. Thank people who help you.
As we all know, appreciation takes no time—and it goes a long way.


Lindsay LaNore (lindsay.lanore@icba.org) is group executive vice president and chief learning and experience officer

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