There are many leadership ideas out there that seem, at times, to be over-complicated and a bit unwieldy. Often, management is quite a simply design with some detail
woven in among the fabric of complexity. But if we were to really examine the roles of the people within our business, I believe we can divide them into three components.
The senior management team (MD, Chief Exec, Senior Board members, etc) should be spending a large proportion of their time working on strategy and vision. These are the people who drive the organisation, ensuring the plans are in place for the business to go forward. They create the vision for others to follow. They build the strategy for the business to run forward. They develop the values that everyone in the company lives by. They ensure everyone has confidence in the future. And they commit to the mission that will make the business profitable.
The middle management team consist of the people who apply the strategy, vision and values.They link in with the senior team to drive the mission forward, working to ensure the ideas generated from the people who hold the purse-strings are applied effectively. They provide the leadership for the teams working for them to actually carry out the work.
The final layer are the producers, the people who ensure the work is carried out, motivated and driven by the leaders above them who set the guidelines and ensure continuity of business.
Effectively, each layer should be ensuring they make it easy for the layer below them to carry out their jobs. By providing the correct vision, top management provide the tools for middle managers to lead the producers effectively. If the producers (the people actually going out there and selling, giving customer service, answering the phones, building the customer relationships, etc) don’t feel adequately led, they will feel unclear about their roles and responsibilities, and maybe not tap into their full productive capabilities.
If the leaders don’t feel their senior team have set the right vision or direction for the business to follow, they will not have the full commitment and positivity to drive producers forward to achieve.
It’s like a well-oiled machine that gives great performance when maintained properly, and causes alarm and distress when ignored and neglected.
Ask whether the Vision, Leadership and Production within your business is in complete harmony. If so, you have a smooth-running engine. If not, maintenance is needed to ensure its continuity.
Head of Training
(Image by Renjith Krishnan)
A key task that you as a manager can always improve in is that of creating a vision that will inspire your team.
An inspiring vision should not just be left to the senior management team to develop. It’s something that will drive and motivate your small team as well, no matter what position you hold within the organisation. It must be clear and inspiring, enabling and practical. Here are some tips you can use to develop your own vision with your own team:
Ensure you develop your vision with your team members in mind, and believe in it yourself! Make it realistic and make it personal and practical.
As with a satellite navigational system, you need to put the end destination in first before you can determine where you are now. Then you decide on the link between the two positions. Only then can you see the steps that need to be taken to bridge the gap.
Get support from higher management for your vision. Without that, you face an upwards struggle and obstacles when you need to gain commitment from the budget-holders.
Next, think about how you are going to communicate the vision and what the medium of communication will be. Will you launch it at a big open meeting? A series of smaller meetings? One-on-Ones? A mixture of all of these? Whatever you decide, make sure everyone understands it, and what their role is in it.
Be available at all times to talk individually to everyone if they have any questions or queries about the application of the vision.
Make sure everyone has the help they need to build the skills to participate in the vision.
Set milestones along the route so everyone knows how they are doing against the planned journey. Help everyone to buy-in to the journey.
Keep an eye open for anyone who tries, meaningfully or not, to sabotage the journey on the route to the vision. These negative people may impact the rest, so keep them under your wing and offer support at all times.
Ensure you mention the vision and the goals often, so everyone can see how committed you are to achieving it.
Live it yourself, so all team members can follow your lead and example every step of the way.
Celebrate achieving goals along the way. The vision is the journey and everyone must see the rewards if they are to maintain momentum on the journey. Keep it clear and motivational, and you will reap the rewards of teamwork, positivity, motivation and drive.