30 Ways to Manage Better and Lead Well

Karl Bimshas
7 min readApr 2, 2024
30 Ways to Manage Better and Lead Well by Karl Bimshas

Ask yourself, “How can I become a better leader?”

If you are already a leader, I hope you are asking yourself that question regularly. If not, I would question your judgment and suggest you might be more powerful and effective as an individual contributor.

Below are a series of statements or notions followed by a reflection and an action. Answer the reflection and decide if your response is acceptable. If you want to improve, take the suggested action.

Way 1: To move forward, leaders make decisions.

Reflection: Do you make decisions?

ACTION: Today, make and act on one big decision you’ve been putting off.

Way 2: Some wait for someone else to act, and some won’t wait and instead make things happen.

Reflection: How often do you take the initiative?

ACTION: Don’t wait to see who moves first; be the one who moves first.

Way 3: There is joy in solving problems and finding solutions. There is a pain in letting things rot, fester or stagnate. As a leader, you set the stage; which do you prefer?

Reflection: Do you inspire creativity?

ACTION: Feed yourself with something that inspires you today, then encourage creativity in others. (Repeat often)

Way 4: Leaders shouldn’t be situationally responsible. When you goof, you own it. When you succeed, you share the credit. That’s the compact if you want to be taken seriously.

Reflection: Are you accountable for your actions?

ACTION: Pick an important item you’re unsure about and find someone who will hold you accountable for the results.

Way 5: When you admonish people for acting a certain way and then act that way, you look foolish.

Reflection: Do you set your example?

ACTION: Today and every day after, don’t think your job is done by setting your example. You also have to BE your example.

Way 6: Whim is difficult to anticipate. People don’t always know what’s happening in their leader’s head.

Reflection: Do you communicate expectations?

ACTION: Thinking does not make it so. Acting on those thoughts does. Be clear about what you want. If people don’t understand you, that’s on you — not them.

Way 7: How do you know if something has changed? You compare it to what was. Do that several times, and you will have a trend. That doesn’t mean everything becomes predictable, but it does make it better than a guess.

Reflection: Do you measure performance?

ACTION: Pick something you’re curious about and take two measurements: a UNIT measure (weight, height, number of occurrences, etc.) and an INTERVAL measure (hours, days, weeks, months, etc.). See what trends emerge and notice if your assumptions are met or challenged. Otherwise, you are just guessing.

Way 8: Ken Blanchard is fond of saying, “Raise your hand if you’re getting too much reward and recognition.”

Reflection: Do you reward the efforts of others?

ACTION: Make a point of noticing and acknowledging what people do right (or approximately right) today.

Way 9: Feedback is information. It is not inherently positive or negative — but how it is delivered influences how it is received.

Reflection: Do you give continuous feedback?

ACTION: First, ask if your feedback would be welcomed, and then be sure it is for their benefit rather than yours.

Way 10: The point of a team is to accomplish results better than if pursued singularly.

Reflection: Do you place team members where they can win?

ACTION: Evaluate your current results and decide if you have the right people in the right positions.

Ask yourself, “How can I lead better?”

As an effective leader, you must ask yourself this question regularly.

Way 11: The arrogant think they have all the answers. Leaders know when they do not and ask better questions.

Reflection: Are you deeply curious?

ACTION: Pick one assumption you are sure of, then look for ways to prove yourself wrong.

Way 12: Leaders work on solving problems. Sometimes, that involves creating new ones, which is okay; solve those too.

Reflection: Do you problem-solve?

ACTION: Make a list of all the current problems on your plate. Eliminate the ones that you have no control over or impact on, e.g., the weather. Choose the problem that, when solved, would positively impact other problems, too. This problem is now one of your goals. Put a singular focus on solving it. After it is solved, celebrate and find another.

Way 13: Your attitude colors and filters everything you pull in and push out; it is one of the rare things you have complete control over.

Reflection: Do you possess a positive attitude?

ACTION: Today, lead from a positive place. Find the best in people and give the best of yourself.

Way 14: You are a reflection of your closest relationships.

Reflection: Do you value relationships?

ACTION: It is easy to take advantage of your important relationships, take shortcuts, and leave them shortchanged. Stop doing that. Make a plan and a commitment to show them how much you value them.

Way 15: Action breeds action.

Reflection: Do you have a record of success?

ACTION: Note your accomplishments, not to humble brag, to record where you have been and what you have done. If you have been doing that, trends of strengths and weaknesses will appear. Make adjustments when starting your next endeavor.

Way 16: As a leader, you often get great ideas. Remember to reinforce your existing vision, mission, values, etc.

Reflection: Do you frequently communicate?

ACTION: You might think you are repeating yourself. It’s okay. What you think is important bares repeating. Incorporate new feedback and stay on message.

Way 17: It is tempting to think of yourself first; after all, you are the person you spend the most time with.

Reflection: Do you demonstrate empathy?

ACTION: Make the effort to understand where another person is coming from. Resist being ego-driven and defensive. Instead, listen, show compassion, and cry unapologetically if you must. Be there for someone besides yourself.

Way 18: Stability is nice; change is inevitable.

Reflection: Are you flexible as conditions change?

ACTION: Learn to discern when to be unyielding and when to go with the flow. A river follows the same basic route but is constantly in motion.

Way 19: Leadership thrives with change; management frequently does not.

Reflection: Do you embrace and manage change?

ACTION: Instead of dreading inevitable change, pay attention, find the predictable elements you can control, and approach the rest with curiosity.

Way 20: Everyone has customers or end users, the people who benefit from their work. Without them, there is not much work. Do you serve them begrudgingly or with a sincere smile?

Reflection: Do you value customers and end users?

ACTION: Leaders who value client relationships are responsive, inquisitive, helpful, and grateful. Try to be all four of these with each client you interact with today.

Ask yourself, “What do I give as a leader?”

Effective leaders know it’s not about them; it’s about those they lead.

Way 21: Sharing your skills and knowledge is a selfless act.

Reflection: Do you teach others?

ACTION: Make the extra effort and take the time to share a skill, a shortcut, wisdom gained, or a trick of the trade that will make an invaluable impact on someone else.

Way 22: You will not love all of it, but you better love most of it.

Reflection: Do you enjoy your role?

ACTION: Think about your role as a leader and list the elements you dislike against the elements you enjoy. If you lack gratification and joy most of the time, how effective do you think you are as a leader? Today, overcompensate and pursue the tasks that fulfill you.

Way 23: Where do you want to go? What can you see that others do not … yet?

Reflection: Do you share a vision?

ACTION: It is one thing to see in your mind’s eye where you want to go and what you want to create and achieve. To become a leader, you must share your vision with others who can help. To do that, make it a sensible vision. That means two things. First, it should be currently out of reach but not out of the realm of possibility. Second, you should describe it in a way that invokes all senses.

Way 24: If you find it difficult to operate within the rules, you might not be cut out for leadership.

Reflection: Do you behave ethically?

ACTION: Ensure you act congruently with your morals, values, and ethics.

Way 25: Honesty is not designed to hide well. It is the envelope that holds your integrity.

Reflection: Are you honest?

ACTION: Don’t fib or hedge when assessing your honesty. Being honest isn’t always less painful, but it is easier.

Way 26: Leadership is finding the nuance between “It’s not about you.” and “You’re 100% responsible.”

Reflection: Do you give credit and take the blame?

ACTION: When you receive praise, thank them, and if anyone helped you achieve it, thank them. When you receive blame, accept the feedback and fix the problem.

Way 27: Wishing is not enough. Consistent active participation makes dreams come true.

Reflection: Do you focus on a goal?

ACTION: As a leader, you must be goal-driven. Your goals should bring you closer to your vision. Keep yourself and others focused on the things that do that and away from distractions.

Way 28: The larger the organization, the more defined (and entrenched) the culture. Regardless of the size of the team, leaders set the tone of what is acceptable and what is not.

Reflection: Do you create and or nurture a culture?

ACTION: Acknowledge that, like it or not, as a leader, you are a role model. Your actions are being scrutinized and mimicked. Therefore, make sure they reinforce the culture of performance you want.

Way 29: Make a distinction between danger and fear. Avoid danger, confront fear.

Reflection: Do you possess courage?

ACTION: Confront something that fills you with dread. Confidence grows out of competence, which you achieve by doing. Help to destroy a fear today, either yours or someone else’s.

Way 30: It is not about you.

Reflection: Do you serve those you lead?

ACTION: The team is not there to better the leader’s career or aggrandize him or her. It is the reverse. Determine how you will serve your team so they can achieve increasingly significant things.

Acting on these areas of focus will dramatically improve your leadership. Share your favorite in the comments. I’d love to hear about your progress.



Karl Bimshas

Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.