Written By Raye Ogrady.
We live in an economy that is volatile and unpredictable. Our leaders need to be able to demonstrate extraordinary performance but our entry into the new millennium has proven to be sadly lacking people accumulate experiences in good leadership. With confidence and trust in our community at such low ebb how do we go about optimizing productivity and rebuilding those lost skills?
The single trademark quality possessed by nearly every successful executive is the ability to lead people. It’s a skill that has to be learned and not many people take the opportunity to acquire good skills. Good management has been defined as showing average people how to do the work of superior people.
Paramount training begins by analysing your business’ needs and works with you to build a team to achieve optimum performance, productivity and profit. Right skills and behaviours, best processes and technologies, staffing levels based on work requirements. These are the tools of a good manager because business is full of people, and people need careful and skilful management to achieve their best in a co-operative workplace.
There are several principles required in the business of leadership. The first and most important of these is people’s need for self-respect. Self-respect indicates the way people accumulate experiences from birth and become individual personalities. Everything they do must serve that sense of self-respect. We are all individuals and our similarities are more than our superficial differences.
We must have empathy that is the ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and to see things from their point of view. When we understand this fact, we can understand more about how to motivate others and we move a long way towards growing a team. Therefore, the second principle of leadership is sensitivity.
People will work more willingly, more accurately and more efficiently if they feel they have a stake or personal interest in what they are doing. Many managers believe that their employees are rewarded for their efforts by the pay or salary they receive. Money is not in itself a reward. People will work much harder if their efforts are recognized and appreciated.
The third principle of leadership is recognition and feedback. Praise, when directed at a person’s performance, is a very effective tool in encouraging people to achieve their best. People can only grow when they are given feed back on whether their efforts are appropriate or need to be redirected. One of the most effective ways to get people to do a better job is through encouragement, recognition of their accomplishments and praise.
The world in which we live measures our importance in terms of dollars- reflected in the place we live, the car we drive- things which are reflective of our status in life. As a manager, indeed, as a human being we have the potential to make everyone in our team or organisation or even in our family feel important. Because each one of us wants to be considered as some one who matters. We want to be important. We want to stand out. This has the potential to create a very positive work environment.
A good manager makes his or her employees feel important by taking a personal interest in their work and letting them know that the measure of their success is also the company’s, or perhaps the department’s measure of success. When the people you work with know you are taking a genuine personal interest in their work, you can count on another personal motivation, which makes them want to do better work.
As well as taking an interest in people’s work, take an interest in them as individuals. Employees will naturally do better work for a leader for whom they have respect than for one whom they do not. And they will do even better work for one whom they respect and like than for one whom they respect and fear or resent. This will be true no matter how much is offered for remuneration. It will also play a large part in employee retention.
Taking an interest in your people as people is nothing more than treating them with the courtesy, thoughtfulness and the consideration that one human being deserves from another.
Listening attentively and sympathetically is one of the most important attributes of a good leader, the fifth principle. To listen without interrupting allows you to learn what’s going on in people’s minds; it gives them a chance to cool off and calm down if they are upset and allows them the opportunity to solve their own problems. Being a willing listener, removes the emotional block from people’s minds and allows them time to regain their dignity and get back on track. This allows them to find their own solutions and teaches self-reliance. At the same time it creates much better co-operation in carrying out the solution to the problem.
Financial incentives are one of the reasons people contract their services to others. This sixth principle can be in the form of increased salaries, bonuses, and incentive programs which are based on results. They can also work as idea- stimulators, incentives to get people looking at new and better ways of doing business, raising profits, or cutting costs. Money does speak with a loud voice but the feeling of status that a leader may engender in their employees, by actively soliciting their advice in the running of its operations and giving them, in a sense, an ownership of the company is enormous.
To know that your company respects your judgment and skills enough to pay for it makes an employee feel more than just a number on a payroll.
The sixth principle-Strategic Criticism -The art of correcting people’s mistakes without humiliating them is constructive criticism. It should always be used as an educative device to improve a person’s standard of work or conduct and never for fault finding. All criticism injures self-esteem and morale to some degree. To use criticism as a weapon of destruction undermines a leaders own status and forfeits the respect of their employees.
It is necessary to encourage employees to try new things in so doing they will make mistakes. If you show them that you want to be helpful and not vindictive you will have one of the most potent skills for stimulating better performance.
Wise leaders recognize that their employees are well-springs of human conduct and endeavour to encourage people to do their best for their own sense of achievement and thereby benefiting the company. How does one do this? By using Strategy in assigning tasks. By inviting compliance, requesting, or asking for suggestions on how a certain project can be best accomplished then standing back and allowing our team members to formulate their own methods of operation and plan of attack, allows people to find their own level.
As I once read: You can tell someone what to do but not how to do it. A wise leader or manager recognizes that his power is in his position, and can be confident that he has that position because of his skills. When he shares these skills then he stands out as a manager.