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Leadership in Management



June 11, 2014 - In Featured, Leadership in Management - No comments yet

All organisations whether in the private or public sector employ people as managers.  Managers are responsible for the results generated by their people; the people who report to them.  In recent years there has been a great deal written and talked about leadership.  This is because leadership is the element of a manager’s job which is about the way he/she relates to their people to get the work done.  The way managers lead their people offers substantial opportunities for the delivery of performance improvements by both the manager and his/her staff.

It is important to remember that a manager’s job also involves managing non-human resources like budgets, facilities, materials and administering the organisation’s policies, some of which may be to do with their people.  Leadership is the part of a manager’s job to do with how they involve their people in achieving the results the organisation needs from them.

To deliver effective leadership, that works, it’s worth focusing on a few big things for the people who report directly to the manager.  Here we highlight:

Setting Direction   For each person for whom they are responsible, the manager needs to discuss and agree the overall direction of the person’s work and the performance expectations for task accomplishment.  Where there are things that are more important than others, discussing and agreeing the priority tasks is a critical communication.

How the manager goes about this interaction will distinguish it as leadership or not.  If the manager approaches their staff member in a positive way and engages them in discussion about the work to be undertaken, the results to be achieved and requests and listens to their contributions, then the staff member is more likely to become committed to achieving the right results.  Stimulating such commitment is widely regarded as effective leadership.

Developing Performance   Helping individuals to improve their ability to complete agreed tasks successfully and achieve good results is another important aspect of effective leadership.  To do this, managers need to observe, where possible, and monitor performance by all means at their disposal.  Talking to the person concerned is most important as this, done properly, will build confidence and trust and so enable any difficulties and ideas to be shared with the manager.  Obtaining feedback from others about the individual’s performance is important for the manager in understanding the impact the individual has in going about their work.

Focusing on providing balanced feedback about performance is important to build trust and start fostering engagement.  Discussing performance and encouraging the individual to come up with their own evaluation and resolutions to shortfalls helps develop confidence and competence.  Illuminating knowledge, skills and behaviours to be developed and how the individual may be supported to do this is an important area of leadership in managing people.             

Creating Common Purpose   For managers who have a number of people reporting who need to work together effectively to produce the required results, setting direction collectively is important.  This does not obviate the need to agree specific objectives and measures for individuals.  As in all leadership activities, a manager needs to ensure that they have a robust and clear understanding, with their own manager, about the results to be achieved by their people.

With such clarity about expected results, the manager can open discussions with all direct reports about the focus of work for the forthcoming period.  The key aim of these discussions is to involve everyone in contributing to create common purpose.  The discussions need to be undertaken with everyone involved together.  Common purpose is more powerful when everyone can see that their colleagues are engaged in achieving the group’s results.  This requires the manager to be successful in leading a group meeting where everyone can feel that they were able to participate successfully by making contributions and having any concerns addressed.

Leading the creation of such common purpose can provide the foundation for developing a team where the productivity of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.  (For further information, please see our article ‘Build Organisational Capability through Team Effectiveness’

Facilitating Interaction with Other Groups   The effectiveness of the whole organisation is ultimately the responsibility of the CEO and the board.  The effective organisation maximises results in the competitive external environment.  With this in mind, all managers can contribute to organisational effectiveness if they ensure that their people interact positively, collaboratively and helpfully with the groups that they need to work with for various aspects of achieving results.  Some of these interactions may be critical, especially with groups that are situated before or after them in the value chain that delivers the product or service to the customer.  Others are functions, such as Finance and Human Resources who aim to support the smooth running of the organisation.

The manager who is successful in facilitating positive interactions with other groups is helping people to understand the connectedness and integrity of the organisation’s work.  Demonstrating this understanding contributes to strategic leadership and will be appreciated by enlightened senior management.

Leadership is often at its most effective when it is enabling and focused on assisting people perform at their best.  This needs the manager to deploy a general approach that involves their people in contributing ideas and talents and developing commitment to the higher purpose of the organisation.

HR Effectiveness

February 20, 2014 - In Assignment Portfolio, Leadership in Management - No comments yet

Topics Covered:

International Automotive Distribution Company – Principal Client: Human Resources Director

Business Issue

The international automotive distribution business had recently de-merged from a larger trading multinational.  As the largest business entity, the new company wanted to develop its HR function to move beyond HR administration and be able to contribute to business effectiveness and performance.  There was an expectation that HR should exert greater influence to improve management practice and performance outcomes.  To establish the new HR role, a conference was organised to include all HR professionals from around the world and our assistance was sort to design and lead a programme of development.

How We Helped  

To assist the development of a new proactive HR role, we designed the conference programme to develop consulting capabilities, including the consultant’s role, the main elements of the consulting process, the consultant/client relationship and to improve the impact of the HR professional’s relationship management and influencing skills.  The HR participants also considered developing their marketing and communication capabilities and approach to managing change.

Outcomes and Results Achieved 

A new HR role was agreed between the conference participants which reflected the aim of the company to have an HR function focused on performance improvement and organisational effectiveness.  Real company issues were identified for consultancy and changes in the HR/line manager relationship and participants practiced influencing skills and giving and receiving feedback.  Finally, change strategies were developed by the various HR disciplines and personal development plans agreed.

Coaching Development For Managers by Richard Nelson

November 28, 2012 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

The increase in the use of external coaches in organisations, especially for executives, may obscure the value of developing managers to be effective coaches.  Coaching is a critical element of the managerial role.  More precisely, it is a practical demonstration of leadership.  Leadership involves engaging the commitment of people, inspiring the emotions as well as providing clear performance expectations. Continue reading Coaching Development For Managers by Richard Nelson.

Culture and Leadership by Kate Harrad

May 4, 2011 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

It is probably true to say that there are very few companies in which the leader has total control and influence over the company’s culture, and also very few where they have no influence at all. Within this range of possibilities, however, it is difficult to generalise about the degree of impact that leadership has on organisational culture.

There are, however, patterns that can be identified, and phases through which companies tend to develop in terms of the way that their culture grows, and the effect that the leader has on it. Continue reading Culture and Leadership by Kate Harrad.

Developing Managers for Business Success by Richard Nelson

April 29, 2010 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

Right now management development does not seem to be essential for those appointed to managerial positions.  Across the world, people can be found occupying management positions without having had any relevant education and training.  One can ponder the reasons: management does not yet have the status of a profession in its own right and does not require special training like becoming a doctor or lawyer.  Or perhaps the organisation’s leaders do not think that they risk business failure by delegating responsibility to untrained managers.  Continue reading Developing Managers for Business Success by Richard Nelson.

Organisational Culture by Kate Harrad

February 1, 2010 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

Is culture important? The evidence suggests that it is.  In 1996 Harvard Business Review conducted a study of successful companies and found that the most successful ones consistently performed well at what they described as ‘the four primary management practices’ – strategy, execution, culture, and structure. Beyond this, though, the types of successful culture were very different. Continue reading Organisational Culture by Kate Harrad.

Being a Strategic Business Partner by Richard Nelson.

August 19, 2009 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

What is driving the need for HR to be strategic business partners? The business argument can be summarised as follows:

Continue reading Being a Strategic Business Partner by Richard Nelson..

Organisational Leadership by Richard Nelson

June 5, 2009 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

1. PERSONAL VISION AND COURAGE: The Basis for Effective Leadership

‘Shaping a personal leadership vision poses a genuine challenge for all managers.’;

How someone thinks about their job has an enormous impact on what they actually do. Many managers, when asked what their job is, refer to a service or product: ‘we deliver financial services’ or ‘we retail food’. These statements indicate, at best, a modest engagement with the leadership role. Continue reading Organisational Leadership by Richard Nelson.

Book recommendation. The Inspirational Leader by John Adair. Review by Kate Harrad

June 1, 2009 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

John Adair’s book is laid out in the form of a conversation between him and a young chief executive who is looking for advice on how to be a good leader.  The fact that it is in dialogue form, and very free of jargon, makes it extremely accessible.  It also makes it feel rather like a book of Greek philosophy, and indeed Adair refers to Socrates and Plato in the course of his discussion. Continue reading Book recommendation. The Inspirational Leader by John Adair. Review by Kate Harrad.

Leadership, Purpose and Engagement

May 29, 2009 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

The focus of attention for many management teams in search of better revenues and profits is engagement.  A workforce that is merely ‘satisfied’ but not engaged is unlikely to achieve its full performance.  Some leaders have been aware of the risks involved if the competition is successful: “The person who figures out how to harness the collective genius of the people in his or her organisation,” said former Citibank CEO Walter Wriston, “is going to blow the competition away”.  Continue reading Leadership, Purpose and Engagement.

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