On our Management Open Courses, we often find the most interesting discussions revolve around the section on Leadership styles, because many people have heard about them but haven’t really learned enough about them to build their knowledge and awareness of how to change styles when necessary.
On the programme, we discuss that there are many styles you can choose from but it’s generally the situation itself that will dictate which style you should adopt. Here’s a resume of what we discuss:
1) Get to know the various strengths, weaknesses, development areas, wants and needs of each staff member who works for you. This will allow you to have a good personal business relationship with each one.
2) Don’t allow any past negative situations to control how you lead your people. Your attitude will become clear immediately if you bring baggage forward from any past experiences or management positions you may have held.
3) Each team member is an individual and should be treated as such. Provide closer supervision with those who need to improve their performance. Give greater freedom and responsibility to those who have shown ability and perform in a professional way.
4) Communicate your vision and goals and objectives to all in the team. If you play your cards close to your chest, you run the risk of alienating the team and they will become suspicious of your motives.
5) Practice good communication skills and respect for the team no matter what type of day you are having. Consistency is one of the key attributes of any leader, and if you show yourself to be moody or up-and-down in your demeanour, you are less likely to encourage others to approach you with honesty and openness.
By choosing the correct style of leadership with your team, you create the best opportunity to get them behind you and firing on all cylinders in their work.
Having a vision is important, regardless of your position within an organisation. Your vision is your dream for your self, your team, or your organisation as a whole.
Here’s the problem, though. I’ve met dozens of people with great visions, but none of them had any idea how they would make those visions into a reality. They had no strategy in mind.
If your vision is your dream, then your strategy is your action plan. It’s the roadmap you create for yourself. If you follow that roadmap, your dreams will come true.
So you want to be the top selling sales team within the organisation? What stragety will you devise in order to help your team members achieve that goal? You want to have the best customer service reputation in the industry? What will you do to help your team members be the best that they can be?
Once you have a strategy in mind, you’ll need to implement some specific tactics. The tactics you use are the actual actions you take to make your dreams come true. You’re no longer dreaming or thinking – you’re doing. You will get up in the morning, you will go into the office, you will have a planning meeting, and you will continue by doing xyz.
Visions are dreams.
Strategies are road maps.
Tactics are action.
Take action. Whether that means becoming a better manager or achieving some other great goal. Just do it.
It’s Monday. Your weekend seems like it was just a bit too short. You’ve entered your office, settled down behind your desk, and before you know it you’re receiving a barrage of complaints from EmployeeX about his job, what he doesn’t like about a particular task, and what he perceives other employees are saying about him behind his back. It doesn’t really matter what you say to EmployeeX – he’s always combative and argumentative. He doesn’t deal appropriately with other coworkers and, to be honest, he’s a distraction in the workplace.
So how do you deal with someone who is difficult, on all levels, on a regular basis?
You need to start out by doing your homework. What exactly is it that causes EmployeeX to be so difficult. Why does he always complain? Why does he feel like other take credit for his work (or why does he take credit for the work others have done)? Everyone can be difficult on occasion – due to stress or a problem at at home – but EmployeeX seems to always have some sort of problem.
When you’re doing your homework, look for facts. Think about the inappropriate behaviour you have witnessed or think about the situations where you have multiple witnesses who can tell you what happened. Heresay, gossip, and rumors won’t help you solve problems. Are you making the problem worse in the way you respond (combative vs. combative)?
Your next step is to make a plan for confronting the employee in question. Determine the severity of the situation and, if it warrants such action, ask a HR representative to sit in on the meeting. It’s not fun to do, but you absolutely have to tell EmployeeX that his behaviour in the workplace is simply not appropriate. Talk to him and see if you can determine exactly what it is that causes his behavioural issues. Don’t interrupt him, repeat back parts of what he is saying so that he knows you are listening, and try to set some guidlines that dicatate more appropriate behaviour at work.
In the end, you’ll come up with some sort of solution. EmployeeX will either embrace the opportunity you’re giving him for change or he’ll stray further away. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get him help or – unfortunately – sever your working relationship.
It’s OK to do that if you find there are no other options. The trick, as a manager, is knowing how to recognize when you’ve run out of options.
We’ve talked about anger and the importance of properly managing it in the past. The truth is that everyone is going to get angry while at work at least once during the course of his career. Everyone will handle that anger differently but there are a few who will have no idea how to appropriately respond to anger – especially in a formal environment. While throwing things around or yelling may work in the privacy of your home, it simply doesn’t fly in the work environment. Learn More
Throughout my career I’ve learned two things. Successful people have had (or currently have) coaches and those who seem to be struggling with their careers are usually the ones who do not have coaches (or think they don’t need them). Over the next couple of days I want to take some time to dispell some of the myths circulating about the values of coaching – whether you’re on the giving or receiving end. Learn More
As a manager you will have an important and unique role – one you may not have expected to adopt. You’ll be not only a manager but a mentor as well. Being a mentor means being able to communicate with your team members, or those you are mentoring, on a more personal level in order to help them develop the skills essential to growth and improvement.
Has your team been having a difficult time lately? Were you extra busy, short staffed, or otherwise strained? As a manager, it’s your job to make sure your team feels motivated and has a positive attitude towards their daily tasks. It’s your job to boost employee morale.
Unfortunately, boosting employee morale isn’t always easy. There’s always someone complaining about something but, in the end, the majority of your team member will appreciate your efforts to be involved in their lives and keep them happy. Here are a few tips for boosting employee morale.
You are, first and foremost, a human being. Act like one. Have a little fun, crack a joke, laugh, smile, and let your team members know you are one of them. They’ll like you better for it.
Do you have a suggestion box where your employees can share creative ideas? If so, do you actually use it or acknowledge submissions? If not, give it a whirl. Let your employees know that you appreciate their ideas, whether you incorporate them into your daily routines or not. You might even offer a small monthly prize for participating and offering suggestions.
Your employees will have better morale, individually, if they feel as though they have a personal career path to follow when they come to work each day. Why not use your next coaching session to help each employee set his or her own long and short term goals and then help them find a way to take the first steps towards meeting them. They’ll feel as though they have a purpose aside from trudging through their 9-5 jobs every day.
Offer incentives or goals to your employees each week or month. They don’t have to be elaborate. Have bagels for breakfast on Friday mornings or encourage a group luncheon once a month. Offer a prize for the employee with the highest level or production. Something, anything, they can look forward to will boost morale.
Remember – happy employees are productive employees. What will you do to make their days a little brighter?
While no one really enjoys the appraisal process, I’m going to take a chance here and suggest something a bit different – why not have monthly or semi-regular appraisal meetings with each of your employees?
Before you start throwing your hands up and calling me crazy, let me explain. There are quite a few benefits that, as a manager, you can achieve by having more frequent appraisals and, in the end, your major annual appraisal will go much smoother. Here are a few reasons to consider. Learn More