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The Purpose And Attributes Of Effective Management

The Purpose And Attributes Of Effective Management

The Purpose And Attributes Of Effective Management

Effective management isn’t about bossing people around or waving your fancy title around in people’s faces. Effective management gets things done. It can break a business if done poorly and is the sole reason any business entity is successful.

The Purpose of Management

The purpose of management is honestly quite simple, they are put in place to help achieve the bottom-line initiatives and goals of the company. Anything else that comes with the job is a bonus. Managers are hired to achieve things that others have difficulty achieving. They can rally their team to meet their initiatives, hit KPIs, and accomplish goals.

Taking Ownership

Extreme ownership has been mentioned before, and just to really drive a point home, here it is again. As a leader, you need to take ownership of everything. When your team succeeds it’s because of their hard work and your management, when you fail it’s on you as you’re the one who’s supposed to help them succeed. The failure could also be shifted to other people involved but your job as a leader with an extreme ownership mindset, is to absorb that failure and not go around pointing fingers. An added bonus of taking ownership is the ability to protect your team. Leading your team from the front and absorbing any failures or negative feedback is your job. Showing your team that you’re willing to step up and take a hit for them when things don’t go as planned is part of being a great leader. It also helps build a culture of taking ownership which leads to better the overall work culture.

Build Relationships

Build interpersonal relationships with your staff. Get to know them better, this type of interaction will strengthen their trust in you. In addition, knowing your teams’ strengths and weaknesses will allow you to properly delegate tasks when needed. Be the type of leader you wanted to have before you were a leader, show them that you care about them as people and not just as staff. You have to display actions that you want your staff to emulate, if you want your staff to start taking initiative and taking over tasks then you have to show them how to do so. Not to beat a dead horse here, but you need to lead from the front, be the change you want to see and others will follow.

Effective Communication

Communication works in two directions, you need to be able to listen/comprehend as well as successfully express yourself in order to be an effective communicator. Active listening is a skill you’ll have to get really comfortable with in order to communicate with your staff effectively. You need to be able to understand what your staff is trying to tell you. As you are in a position of power, sometimes certain staff will tip toe around a subject and you’ll need to be able to either decode the message or ask if they can tell you what’s wrong. Avoid seeming biased during talks with staff, being closed off from ideas will discourage any more ideas being shared. On the same note, being able to see things from other perspectives other than your own will make communication easier as well as seeing things through unbiased eyes. In line with building relationships, check in on your staff once in a while, it can be small talk for most people, though small talk isn’t really the best idea for any introvert staff you may have. Learning what to talk about with who is a part of building relationships and it happens organically over time. 

Being transparent with your team is part of communicating effectively. Being able to give clear direction to your staff is crucial in getting useful results. Explaining the “why” behind a task is also important when being transparent. It allows your staff to make connections and eliminates any mystery behind actions.

Delegation

Learning to properly assign tasks to individuals or teams is essential in being an effective manager. Knowing each of your staff members’ strengths and weaknesses plays a huge role in this as delegating a job to someone with the skills needed can expedite a task and delegating it to the wrong person can cause major problems. Give feedback after the task is complete in order to better your team. You can’t do everything, in fact, your job isn’t to be able to do everyone’s job better than them, it’s to make everyone do their job better than before.

Bringing It All Together

None of these actions matter by themselves, like in a team, the sum is greater than its parts. You need to have everything to be a good leader. Missing the purpose but having everything else would render that leader useless, they could have the happiest staff in the world but if they aren’t hitting goals or initiatives then they’re useless as a leader. Being a leader is difficult and honestly not for everyone. Those thrust into leadership positions have to adapt and be able to have their team running smoothly and efficiently all while furthering their companies initiatives and goals.

The Importance Of The “Why”

The Importance Of The “Why”

People often start a request by mentioning what it is, this makes it seem much more like a chore and a command. There’s a way to make people more interested and actually listen to you even when you have a request. Talking about the “why” of a subject helps create a sense of trust and give off a feeling of belonging.

Explaining The “Why” To Your Team

As stated before getting people interested is part of having tasks done without complaint and in a more enthusiastic manner. As social beings, we have this innate need to feel included, explaining the “why” instills this sense of trust, which translates into being included in a group that knows why. The other half of this is our brain’s need to find connections, by explaining the “why” then the “what”, the association is instantly given. Knowing the reason behind a move, task, or project also helps ease in change, there is less resistance to a command if people know why it’s being done.

Real World Example

I had my executive assistant send a weekly email to managers giving updates on ticket statuses. It was done for a week then it didn’t happen the following week. I take full ownership of this because I completely forgot to explain the why to the task. After I took notice of the incomplete task, I rectified my mistake by explaining to my EA exactly why the task was so vital. After she understood the importance of the task, it became a weekly thing and happens like clockwork.

Consistency

Just like with giving feedback, it is important to consistently explain the “why”. Make it a habit to explain the “why” for all projects so it becomes a regular thing in your company. If you’re a part of a meeting and you need people to do certain things, open up with the reason behind it. Having other managers do this for their team will also benefit everyone in the company. No matter the size of the task, make sure the reason is revealed and explained.

Create A “Why” Culture

Coupled with being consistent with explaining why something needs to be done, you should strive to create a “why” culture. Having everyone explain why something is being done will help everyone at every stage of the process. For example, if someone on the team is holding up the process, they can explain the process and what they’re doing to try to speed it up. From that point on, people will know exactly why something might take longer than expected and not jump to conclusions. Encourage people to ask “why” or just get everyone to explain “why” before saying the task. The latter is what you want to eventually happen, the former is just a way to help you get there. Take note, it is important to ask in a respectful manner. Referring back to the saying, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you said it”, your choice of tone/intonation plays a huge role when you ask a superior “why”. If you need to, build up to it, “my team will get right on it, in order to ensure your end goal is met, I’d like to understand the reason for this task, if you could give it to me so I can break it down for my team, that would be great.”

Explaining why something must be done is as important as explaining what must be done. It helps build trust with your teams as well as fostering workplace comradery which translates to a happier work environment. Try explaining the why and measure its effectiveness with your team.

A Quick Overview Of A Decentralized Command Structure

A Quick Overview Of A Decentralized Command Structure

A Quick Overview Of A Decentralized Command Structure

The concept of decentralized command has been around for a while. It was presented to the business world in a big way when retired Navy SEAL commanders Jocko Willinks and Leif Babin and their book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win”. In the book they explain that decentralized command is about empowering the people under you in order to build a culture where people take ownership of problems and solutions without passing blame.

Empowering Others

By giving authority to those under you, people own up to more things. For example, if you task someone to lead a specific assignment and give them almost full autonomy to plan and strategize, they will give it their full effort as it is their plan. Should you still be there to help tweak things in the plan? Of course. As a leader you have a different vantage point that lower level individuals do not. Share this with them and teach them to do it. This system helps breed a culture of success that can be sustained no matter the size of the organization.

Lazy Delegation VS Decentralized Command

The main difference between being a lazy leader and a leader who has a successful decentralized command is the culture it breeds. Lazy leaders can be seen as people who delegate jobs to others due to the dislike for the task. Another example of lazy delegation by a leader is when they give tasks that they’re supposed to do to subordinates. In the business world, if a manager is told to create a business report but doesn’t want to do it, they just tell someone on their team to do it instead; this sort of lazy delegation gets noticed and the attitudes within that team and even that organization will change negatively.

In a proper decentralized organization, leaders complete their own tasks. In some cases leading by example means you do tasks others would find to be “beneath you”. The tasks that get delegated are meant to promote growth and instill a sense of ownership with said tasks. Letting someone lead a specific project allows them to get a feel for a leadership role, it also allows you to step back and look at the bigger picture while they focus on the more granular aspects of it, which in turn lets you give them advice that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Quick To Act

A short answer as to why businesses will benefit from a decentralized style of command is: reaction time. In a regular hierarchical structure, decisions have to be approved by the boss, it takes time for this to happen if the action is at the bottom of the chain. When you empower all team members, you have multiple points of decision making. What used to take days or weeks to be approved can now be done in a day. This also impacts the efficiency of the team. If lower management needs to acquire pens for their team in order to finish a project, it would make no sense to wait a week to get approval to buy pens from the person at the top of the chain of command.

More Time For Leaders

All of the aforementioned things allow leaders to focus on the bigger picture as well as all tasks that require quick reaction time. With a team taking burdens in different departments, a weight is lifted from those in higher leadership roles. Not having to deal with multiple small items in a day frees up so much time. Having a much bigger window to meet with important clients or planning the company’s expansion are some of the other tasks leaders could be doing with their newly acquired time.

Growth Of People And The Organization

Having a decentralized command structure allows for groups of any size to stay agile and quickly react to change. Being a controlling type of leader in a small organization is still a viable strategy because all of the staff probably work the same hours and having them all need supervision at the same time would be a rare occurrence. Once a group grows to where people are on different shifts and where there are subteams it becomes physically impossible to micromanage. The great thing about starting with a decentralized structure is that it can scale infinitely. By instilling a culture of success where teamwork and owning everything you do is valued, growth happens organically and whenever new members are added they still exhibit the traits your original team has. It essentially becomes a self sustaining and self growing organization.

Ultimately your goal is to build leaders in order to have a stronger organization that will allow you the freedom to focus on priority tasks. You allow people to lead, in order to get better at it. You provide your unique insights whenever help is needed and this encourages growth instead of inhibiting it by punishing mistakes. By allowing anyone to take ownership and step up to lead a project, you’re fostering a culture built around success and coordination that will show throughout your organization and everyone will be better because of it.