Without solid leadership, a company cannot succeed. It has been said that management is the practice of doing things right, while leadership is choosing the right things to do. Hitting the right leadership balance can be challenging, especially in a larger company where there are multiple levels of management. When leadership is not effective, companies suffer. Their employees are not happy, and their productivity drops off. POWERS, a highly experienced consultancy firm, offers ways in which any company can boost its leadership in the service of boosting company performance.
The basic management skills that any effective leader needs are as follows:
Basic management skills are needed for team leaders. Planning is the most important skill and one which needs to be refined over time. While the amount of planning that you do and the detail that is required will vary, skipping this task will set you up for failure.
The three levels of planning that occur include strategic planning, tactical planning, and operational planning. Strategic planning involves deciding in which direction you want your company to go. Tactical planning is the science of how to get there. Operational planning means organizing your company to arrive at a maximum level of efficiency.
Planning skills include envisioning the future of your company. You will need to mentally organize the mission and vision of your company to fit this envisioned future. Developing a strategy to get there is a task that becomes easier with practice, but it can be very challenging for new managers.
Employees need short-term goals and activities to help your company reach peak efficiency. Passing these micro-goals down to your team will help them organize their daily activities.
Leaders must be organized, both in their daily lives and in the work, they are directing. The steps toward organizational success are sometimes complex.
First, you must determine which roles are necessary to accomplish your plan. You must assign tasks to each of these roles. You will need to obtain resources such as materials and staffing needed and give them to the people in each role.
Managers also need to be able to organize their offices and the data systems they use. You may need to physically move your company’s employees around to enhance workgroup flow. You will need to be able to organize a workplace from the ground up, starting with the placement of people and continuing to the placement of shared resources.
Another key step in organizing an office is making sure that the computer and data systems are set up properly. Decide whether you will need to arrange your systems so that shared company information is easily accessible and that it is not shared where the competition can get to it.
If your team produces more than information, make sure that your team gets the resources they need when they need it. Make sure that they are capable of distributing these items at the right time.
Most people who enter management roles know that they will be expected to direct their teams. You will need to make sure that your team knows what they are expected to do. They need to know what their individual role is in service of the end goal.
Many beginner managers believe that they can sit back and give orders and that they do not have to lead by example. It may be a cliché, but it is truly necessary for all managers to be capable of doing the jobs their employees do every day. They should be “pulling” their teams along, not “pushing” them to achieve more.
Directing a team involves several skills:
- Providing clear direction to help a team succeed
- Make sure that team members are clear on their roles
- Do not micromanage your team, give them some leeway to complete their jobs
- Provide inspiration and support to your team
If your office is running well, you may not need to control it in an explicit manner. You may be able to step back and monitor the work that is being done. In true-life situations, it is likely that you will need to spend at least some time controlling your team’s work.
Again, micromanaging is not recommended. Give your team enough freedom to complete their jobs without you hanging over their shoulders.
You will need to be able to compare what your team is actually doing compared to the plan and lead them to the correct actions. Your team will respect you more if you have a good grasp of what everyone is supposed to be doing and if you know how their actions affect the whole.
Controlling the work involves:
- Monitoring the team’s progress
- Making sure that each role is filled by an employee
- Setting performance and quality standards
- Helping the team problem-solve and remove all barrier standing in the way of their success
- Provide feedback
- Reward and recognize good work
- Adjust decisions made at earlier planning phases in the face of real-world information
Solving the Management Puzzle
These steps may look easy on paper, but as most managers know, it is different to put them into action. Some companies need management and performance consulting to help them organize their efforts.
POWERS remind all managers that they need to keep these basic tenets in mind when they are working toward a common goal.