The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
We have often seen people on our courses who are complaining about how things are in a working environment. We know as managers that we have to spend time specifically with individuals within the team. But what can you specifically do to make sure these team members are kept motivated? Learn More
Have you ever driven into a fog bank that suddenly reared up in front of you?
You immediately slow down, gripping the steering wheel tightly. If you are traveling with someone, conversation is abruptly stopped. You switch on your lights and peer through the murk to get your bearings. You scan ahead for road markings or kerbstones. You quickly check your mirrors, hoping your rear lights are bright enough to alert any drivers behind you. The longer it goes on, the more tired you become. Your attention and concentration changes your perception of time.
It’s also likely that, at times, you have worked in a fog. Work is slower than normal, teamwork suffers, stress levels increase, you get disengaged and productivity suffers. Team-mates who see the problems looming, want more information.
In response, overwhelmed, multi-tasking managers work overtime “communicating”.
However, like driving in a fog, managers can find themselves creating messages rather than meaning, because there is no far-reaching strategic vision and direction. If you can’t see very far, everything is a struggle. In business, more information is sought when under pressure, desperately seeking meaning to the current desperation.
What has to happen is the fog must clear first before progress is made. In the fog of business disillusion, vision is required to search for meaning. Then strategy is needed to search for business advantage.
Team members expect managers to lead as well. Through the rocky waters of change, they require consistency and direction. The manager’s job is to provide a shared image of the future, generate commitment to the goals and ensure alignment of activities. Without these attributes, the fog will descend thick and fast and people will not know the direction they need to travel.
Cut through the fog of indecision by providing that guidance people require. This involves knowing the lay of the land yourself and having the vision to share in the first place.
With that vision comes confidence to determine the route ahead and support from those following, who recognise you have the character and ability to drive through the obstacles. So much depends on you as the manager during these turbulent times.
Are you equipped to take the team forward, creating the strategies and actions required to achieve your objectives? Put your lights on, and let others see the direction you are traveling. Their support will encourage you to keep moving forward.
I was asked an interesting question via email this week that made me stop and think. The question was, What leadership qualities are most needed in today’s time of great change?
I believe leaders play a vital role in each and every business today, and no business can afford to carry passengers. So, I believe the top characteristics that a leader must have are: the ability to recognise and develop employees’ talents, the know-how to make teams work and the ability to communicate at every level within the organisation.
Phew, quite a lot for the leader to do, then! Here are my ideas for a great leader
1. Good communication is the key for developing good business relationships. If he can’t establish a good business working relationship, he is not going to be that leader, that team player. He will not be able to communicate how the teams can add long-term value to the company. The modern leaders must therefore be equipped with good communication skill and use new ways to effectively communicate
2. Honesty The most valuable asset of a leader is honesty. He must be honest with his employees, suppliers, customers and stakeholders. If not, the integrity that leaders need will be undermined.
Leadership qualities are different for different positions. For a Chief Executive , stabilising and running the business today is vital, but so is looking to the future .He has to be able to look beyond where we are today, know where the business is going, and be able to use that vision to move the company forward. We pay a lot for those skills.
4. Action speaks louder than words
What a manager and leader does will speak louder than what they say. If the words and actions don’t match, the people will believe the actions. It’s vital that all the team understand the value of the leader’s example.
5. Ability to motivate people around
A good leader must always keep motivating his team mates for good work and should maintain a healthy environment. That environment must be seen by others as motivational and accurately reflect the direction they all need to go.
Without consistency, people will not know where they stand. Have integrity and variety in what you do, but have the values that are driven by positivity. People will look to you as an example, and your consistent approach will do wonders to get people on your side.
You may or may not agree with those ideas, and I’d like to hear your views. I’m sure we could between us write a book on leaders’ qualities, but one thing is sure…the way we lead businesses today is vastly different to how we lead 10 or more years ago.
I was having a chat with one of my team recently and we got onto the subject of best bosses we have ever worked for. Naturally, he said I was one of them (!!), but who else was on his list of excellent bosses?
Well, after we discussed who they were, we jotted down what set them apart as such inspirational leaders, and I offer this list from my scribbled notes:
1) The vision they have for their and the company’s future is inspiring and absorbing. This means their co-workers choose to follow the direction the leader is taking them, rather than feel they have to because they have no choice.
2) They are able to communicate that vision in a way that inspires. It’s one thing to have an inspiring vision; it’s another thing entirely to be able to communicate it in such a way that people follow regardless of your position.
3) They devote themselves to continuous improvement. They may have left school, but they have never left education. Whether it’s in the car, the plane or in their spare time, they are constantly either learning new things or putting those new things into practice.
4) They create a working environment that people look forward to coming to. The environment is the culture they develop every day within the workplace. A leader knows that fun and enjoyment at work are the results of the culture they encourage.
5) They create learning and growing opportunities for all staff, because they recognise that everyone is inspired by developing themselves in a way that makes them feel important and different.
No doubt you can add to this list, and I’d love to hear from you on this subject. Maybe you have found ways to set yourself apart as an inspirational leader and have reaped many rewards. If so, you set yourself apart from the masses and are a great model for others to follow.
When an employee is struggling, do you offer tips and advice? What about when you assign a team member a new project? Do you just hand it to him and let him figure out the instructions on his own? Coaching your employees is a fine art, and if you do so incorrectly you’ll be left with a rather ugly mess in your lap at the end of the day. Learn More