Self management refers to methods, strategies or skills by an individual who can direct their own actions towards achievement of certain objectives. This includes goal setting, planning, scheduling, self development and continuous learning. In general, a manager’s role is planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Although managers are different than leaders, the author argues that a manager indirectly functions as a leader. Each manager must be functioned as a leader in motivating and encouraging his subordinates. The manager should steer members of the unit to continuously work effectively in achieving the goals of the unit and the organization apart from resolving problems and issues. Hence, managers need to be leaders as their workers need vision and guidance. By changing the way the author manages his staff with appropriate leadership style, he could transform his team to high performing team.
Effective Leadership Style
Leadership is about influencing people. Leaders are who get the right task done ethically and who possesses high level of integrity. Enhancing leadership skills requires self discipline, positive mindset, willingness to take the risk, patience and continuous learning. However, the author argues that leadership can be learned but the skills and knowledge can be influenced by one’s attributes such as beliefs, values, ethics and character and also the organization culture. Before the author undergoes any change program, the author needs to identify his strengths and weaknesses first. The author can command, control and lead a team to achieve the unit’s goal. However, the author needs to enhance his skills on managing people through adopting efficient leadership skills to create a high performing team.
It is the followers who determine the success of their leader. Hence, it is important to have a good relationship with subordinates, peers, superiors and others. Many attributes are required for a great leadership but the basic step for achieving this would be self awareness. Leadership is not about achieving success and getting rewarded for oneself but it is how making others successful even there is no credit for it. In order to understand what is required for the author to empower himself to be an effective leader for his team, he needs to know and identify his shortcomings.
Initial step towards great leadership is to understand what the author wants to achieve. To do this the author has to be honest and truthful in his approach. This is also an act of self leadership when the author knows what he wants and the results he wanted to achieve. For example, Mahatma Gandhi had no political office, huge personal wealth or any military position to influence others. The only thing that he has is a clear clarity about the struggle he had taken to achieve freedom for all mankind and the values of truth, non violence and humility. With his approach, millions were willing to lay down their lives for his noble cause. Basically, Mahatma Gandhi is clear of his vision and goals that he has set upon himself. Hence, as he had found the purpose, values and picture that compelling enough, he has rewarded himself with his devoted followership. Similarly the author must have a clear vision for himself, chosen the right values and the specificity of the expected result. In order to get an intrinsic happiness the author needs to invest in self awareness quest and to change through self empowerment.
Base on the managerial grid by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton, the author found that he is production orientated person instead of people orientated. For example, cheque clearing department in a bank, requires strict controls on processing of cheques due to tight timeline and volumes. The unit is bound to cut off time and resources. Decisions need to be made whether to approve or reject the check presented for clearing. The author at times has to be autocratic in his approach where a slight mistake can cost financial impact to the organization. The approach may not be of people concern, but the advantage is making the department runs smoothly in the eyes of management without any error. In the eyes of the management team, this leader is performing very well. However, the negative impact is the team followed the author’s instruction due to his position in the organization and not due to respect. Hence, this is not healthy for the unit in long term as this will increase the chances of staff attrition if not unchecked.
Managerial Grid – Robert Blake & Jane Mouton
Source : www.wikipedia.org
Base on self assessment, the author stands between 5,5 and 9,9. He needs to be a team player. In order to achieve the desired result, the author must use the combination of autocratic, participative and delegative styles of leadership. Basically, different people may require different style of leadership. For example, a new staff in the team requires supervision and guidance compared to experienced employee. Even a staff who lacks motivation, requires different approach. Hence, fundamental values is to have good understanding of human nature, needs, emotion and motivation before applying situational leadership style for the team. Hence, in order to be an effective leader, the author needs to enhance his interpersonal skills too.
Interpersonal skills are commonly referred to as people or communication skills. Effective communication is an important element in any organization. It will occur only if the receiver understands the information delivered by the sender. Most problems occurred as a result of miscommunication in an organization. It also involves listening, tone of voice, delegation and leadership. Active listening is an important tool to show the team’s ideas are well accepted. The author should not dominate the conversation. The subordinates should be allowed to express their views. There are few traits to be adopted during conversations.
To pay attention and by listening more than talking
To analyze by evaluating all factors before asking questions.
To be aware of biases and should be able to control them.
To embrace diversity.
To constantly praise and compliment staff when they deserve it.
Creating a good relationship by not offending others
To be appreciative and helpful to team members
Cheerful and make others to smile
Number of conflicts in the organization will be reduced with positive interpersonal skills. This will directly contribute the level of productivity in the organization. Furthermore, it will create a harmonious and conducive environment to work. With excellence interpersonal skills, the author can control the feelings that emerge in difficult circumstances and should be able to respond to it accordingly instead of being overwhelmed by emotion. For example, in Dale Carnigie’s book on “How to Win Friends and Influence Others” he has mentioned that it is important to save people face if they had done the mistake. It should be correctly addressed and ensure that the staff does not repeat the mistake again by motivating him.
Leader generate and sustain trust (Bennis 2002 ; DePree, 2002) through the behavior of the leader. Trust is essential for group to work effectively. The result of trust will enhance staff satisfaction and it will increase productivity. One of the ways to maintain trust amongst subordinates and peers is to keep from injuring the trust that already established. Integrity of the leadership is part of trust and is critical for the organization.
To gain trust, the truthfulness and transparency of the communication with staff is a critical factor. What is important to promote trust is unifying mission and vision that can bring the team together. Clear understanding of organization goals and visions within team members are important. Most employees expect their leader to treat them fairly. Furthermore, consistent application of flexibility is important to gain trust from the staff.
Moreover, before a decision is made, the author needs to provide the rationalities, back ground and thought processes to the team. It will enhance the mutual understanding amongst team members where they feel valued and respected. Moreover, the author should know the products well and proficient and should be able to train others in their tasks. By developing trust in the group, the author should be able to influence the team members in doing the task without any presence of force. Leaders are usually influence staff with the respect instead of coercive power. Constant follow-up too on the task allocated to the staff does give a negative impression to the staff. They may not be satisfied with the approach that their leader lacks of trust in their work.
Jo Owen in his book (How to Influence, 2010) has suggested that:-
T = (V x C) / (R x D)
T = Trust
V = Values Alignment
C = Credibility
R = Risk
D = Distance
Jo Owen says that values intimacy and credibility build trust but risk and distance weaken the trust. The author agrees to the above equation as to build credibility is difficult and it can be only achieved after sometime and it is vulnerable. Once broken, it can’t be repaired. Hence, building trust in team members is a long term process. In order to attain trust from fellow team members, the author needs to grow together with his team.
Growing a Team
Growing a team can only be achieved through shared goal or task. Basically, team members are usually committed each other’s growth and success. Such commitment usually transcends the team. Under normal circumstances, no one will know better than an individual team member about the job. To implement changes, the author needs their knowledge, skills and expertise to create a high performing team. Multi tasking is important to current environment. By doing this the staff can back up one another in term of volume surge or absenteeism.
Leaders are change agents. To be an effective leader for the team, the leader must ensure that purpose of goals and approach is relevant and meaningful for the team. A leader must be a working member in the team instead of directing others to achieve the result. Usually, a team expects their leader to be participative in their work. It is always better and not be afraid of dirtying his hands in order to lead by example. In order for the team to change, the author must build commitment and confidence. Otherwise, the author may face resistance from the team against the change process.
Effective leaders are vigilant about skills. Most leaders want their team to be competent with technical, functional, problem solving and teamwork skills. In order to get there, the leader needs to grow and develop the team. If the staff is staying in comfort zone, it will be very difficult to implement change in the team. However, by empowering them to change, it will move them from their comfort zone to learning zone. Usually, people are comfortable with what they are doing and will be resistance to change. The reason would be :
Change initiative is temporary
Loss of job security
Loss of authority or controls
Dislike the managers
Loss of family or personal time
In order to avoid resistance, staff needs to be motivated. With proper rewarding upon achievement is very vital.
It is crucial to develop morale and team spirit in the team. The author must be a role model for the team to follow. Allowing the team to be part of the planning and problem solving process, it will help to develop them. If they are part of the decision making process, they will become owners of it. If the staff is resistant to change, then a counseling process is to be adopted. Managing people is connecting with them. Managers must engage their employees’ hearts to get them to commit and contribute their best. Showing concern for the team to listen to their ideas and opinions will involve them in problem solving and letting them know that they are important. Without proper manpower, even the best laid plans are ineffective.
Praises is most important and effective feedback for the staff to perform even better. Dale Carnegie has mentioned in his book that complimenting people must be done with sincerity and to avoid flattery. Appreciation is a powerful motivator. Employees wanted to be recognized for the job well done. It is important to give them due recognition where is it due. Always have to think in a positive side than pointing out the negative side. A habit of acknowledging what the employees do right is important.
Staff appraisal must be done regularly instead of once in a year process. This is because successful appraisals involve on-going dialogue. To start appraisal, it must be with clear goals and expectation in line with organizational goals. This suppose to be congruent by providing constructive feedback along the way consistently. When the performance appraisal contradicts with previous feedback, the staff may be unhappy and reject accountability and argue and will try to resent the review process.
Leveraging strengths of the staff is important. The author must understand the staff well before initiating change process. The staff may be good in certain things and may not be effective in other stuff. However, effective leadership usually will try to leverage the strengths of his staff by acknowledging them. It is important that the staff attain job satisfaction by doing the task they are confident with. For example, Jose Mourinho – Real Madrid Football Coach understood about his team well before identifying which position they should play. If a goalkeeper given a role of a striker who score goals for the team, he would have failed the entire team by losing the game. By maximizing the staff strengths, it will minimize the staff weakness.
It is important to manage the emotions in the team. The author must build leaders in the team. For example, at Chelsea, more than half of Jose Mourinho’s team became captains of their national team. Furthermore, players like Frank Lampard and John Terry turned to be a world class player. To build a high performing team, the author needs to grow leaders. Leadership is needed in every part of the unit. The author can’t be a giant surrounding by midgets.
Negotiation skills are important in resolving conflicts amongst team members. A leader should be able to take the risk in any situations. If the staffs have disagreements among themselves, author should understand the situations and resolve the conflicts amicably. A leader needs to be very specific about what is required for the team and should be able to influence the team to build a mental image of what is needed. Most importantly, all staffs to be treated equally and embrace diversity.
Training and development for the staff are important to keep abreast with current information on operational matters and new products. If the staff has excelled in their work, the author needs to identify them and develop them to be an effective leader. Also, team building event is important for the team to identify each other’s behavior and relationships. Indirectly, it will create a good understanding between the staff and the teamwork will be effective. Most importantly, the author must share leadership and decision making process with the employees. An atmosphere of participative must be created for the team as the current environment is changing.
To lead a team, the author must lead by example. If a manager cannot lead himself then it is difficult to lead others effectively. Traditionally, organizations would access leadership base on their action and behaviors. However, the best way to access leadership of a person is to discover through the people surrounding him who are inspired. Leaders are to create and groom another leader for succession purposes. The author argues that in order to achieve a high performance team, carrot and stick method is no longer applicable in most organization. As time has changed, only passion and loyalty to the organization and job satisfaction will keep talented staff remained in the organization
On the other hand, value of leadership is to empower himself and inspire others to deliver excellence thorough his influence. It is the basis of self confident which are healthy self esteem, a good self image and experience of success. If any of the three elements fail to present, it will be difficult to achieve the desired result. Although it is a challenge for leaders to build self confidence, effective leaders are always spiraling upwards to new heights and strong willed to move from one challenge to another. And in the journey, the leaders are at risk of experiencing obstacles and could negatively impact the self esteem and completely derail the entire system.