8.09.2016

The Art of Management: Are You An Effective Leader?

Management is one of the most challenging roles to fulfill. It requires an ability to:

  • Drive the organization's overall vision and culture, and create one if it doesn't already exist
  • Build an effective team and create a clear system for developing synergies
  • Keep talent motivated, by balancing the needs of the organization with the professional goals of the individuals that keep it running 

While some of these goals can be achieved with the right personality type and level of passion, the last goal, which I would argue is the most difficult to achieve, requires experience and a genuine investment in the well-being of your human capital.

What Do I Mean By Experience?
This can come from the number of years that you've spent in the workforce, under different managers at different levels of employment (i.e. entry level, mid-level and senior management). By definition, the longer you've been around, the more you'll see and as a result you'll have more real-life scenarios to draw from. This won't necessarily make you a better manager, but it does at the very least increase the likelihood of you being a more informed one.

Experience can also come from your ability to draw lessons and parallels from your experiences being managed, even within a short period of time. Some of the lessons that I've learned in situations where I've been lead by both skilled and unskilled managers, have been the importance of:

  • differentiating between leading and dictating
  • encouraging diversity- not just in backgrounds, but also in thoughts and approach 
  • empowering employees to own their roles and grow within them
  • creating a teaching environment, where employees have a safety net in which they can make mistakes (to an extent) and not always feel like they're being tested
  • deliberately laying out "whistle-blowing" policies, where employees feel comfortable enough reporting misconduct that is causing harm to themselves and/or the organization 

What Do I Mean By Being Invested In Your Human Capital?
While much of this means applying the lessons learned through experience, it also requires an ability to be selfless, empathize and truly identify with your team. In essence, your team needs to know that you are "fighting with them, and not against them". It also means prioritizing the professional goals of your staff such that they are aligned with, and not in competition with your professional goals.

Sadly, I've seen many managers who preach a desire to see strong talent on their team, but often undermine these individuals to ensure that there is a clear distinction between "who is the boss and who isn't". The unfortunate result is fractured teams, where there is a high level of distrust and turnover as employees feel undervalued.

Have you had experience managing teams? Share them with us today!

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