Sound advice for leaders

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 May, 2008, 12:00am

Speaking at the recent Classified Post readers' seminar for middle managers, Paul Lo, Citic Pacific's director of group human resources and administration, set out five useful strategies for company leaders.

Elaborating on the topic of 'Preparing for being the leaders', he said the first thing was not to think in terms of power. A good leader did not need to remind colleagues that he or she was in charge. It was possible to maintain direction and discipline by setting clear guidelines and a good example.

'You can punish an employee who is not punctual, but first you should be a role model,' Mr Lo said. 'When everybody respects you, they will be more willing to respect what you say.'

Secondly, he said it was vital to be knowledgeable and to share that knowledge with staff.

Next, it paid to realise the importance of presenting oneself professionally and making a good impression in every business situation.

'Pay attention to your hair, posture and body language. And when you come across as having more confidence, you will impress people with your personality,' he said.

Also, future leaders should cultivate traits such as patience, good memory and the ability to react calmly under pressure.

'When you know your strengths, use them and let your staff know what they are,' Mr Lo said.

The fifth strategy was to develop a more authoritative way of speaking that conveyed self-confidence and conviction.

'The use of words is important as well. You should choose them carefully and not give cause for misunderstanding.'

On the issue of performance appraisals, Mr Lo said it was best to start by creating the right atmosphere, so that staff clearly understood that the exercise was to help their job performance and career development.

He noted too that a good leader should allow for mistakes, which everybody makes at one time or another.

'You should emphasise that a mistake is a medium for learning, rather than a cause for punishment,' he said. 'And of course, you should encourage the staff involved to find a suitable remedy.'