An organization’s management team plays a crucial part in creating a competitive advantage. This is because a manager’s role is to make strategic decisions to ensure that the company operates effectively and that they provide value in today’s highly competitive market. That is why organizations need to invest time and resources into succession management. Succession management entails continuously training and mentoring staff so that they are ready and able to step into management positions when they become available. Succession management is a continuous process of identifying employees that have the potential to be leaders and training/coaching them to become leaders.
I recently read an article that was published by The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) titled Developing Leadership Talent by David Day PhD. The article talked an interesting way to develop staff for management. To effectively use this method, managers should evaluate their employees and separate them into one of the the nine categories. There are nine categories because the author realizes that not everyone has the same potential (or desire) for management. After it is determined where an employee is, then the manager can train them for the next level in management and leadership. The nine stages and a brief description of what managers should do for employees in each stage are provided below:
- HIGH POTENTIAL
- High – start accelerating these individual’s development
- Medium – challenge these staff members by providing rewards/opportunities
- Low – provide coaching and intervention (it might also be advantageous to change their supervisor or job)
- MEDIUM POTENTIAL
- High – foster these employee’s growth and potential
- Medium – individuals in this category may need more rewards/engagement/motivation
- Low – consider coaching or corrective action
- LOW POTENTIAL
- High – put them in positions where they can develop others
- Medium – motivate or focus
- Low – counsel or terminate
If a manager wants to be respected, successful, and remembered then they need to lead by example. At first one might think this a very simple task involving things like showing up on time and working a full forty hour work week. But there is much more involved if you want to lead by example. Even though they may not show it, employees are observing everything their managers do and say. Employees pay especially close attention to the way their manager reacts when something goes wrong, how quickly they provide answers to questions, and if they are providing their staff with the necessary tools to effectively do their jobs.
Employees will interpret the way their manager acts as the way that their manager wants them to act and pattern their behavior similarly. In other words if a manager says that they want their employees to finish assignments on time, then they better make sure they also do their assignments in a timely fashion. For example, if a boss is late giving a performance review then the employee may see this as meaning that their performance is not important. (Even though the employee was verbally told that their performance was important, the manager’s actions made the statement meaningless). So in the future, if your employees are not performing in the way you would like, make sure that you are not setting the wrong example!
I just found a video on YouTube by Gary Hamel called Management Must be Reinvented. In this video Gary stresses the need for businesses to evolve with the times. He discusses how management has hardly changed at all since the sixties and warns tha management is in danger of becoming obsolete. Gary Hamel further explains that in order to stay current with the ever changing global market, organizations need change the way they approach organizing and mobilizing their human capabilities.
Mr. Hamel also talks about a revolutionary management style where employees are able to rate their bosses performance and then that rating would be available for everyone in the organization to review. Some of his other ideas include making everyone’s salary accessible to anyone in the organization and involving everyone in strategy and decision making (instead of solely upper management).
These are definitely new ideas for management and I found the video very interesting. Please click on the link to watch the short video.
Communication plays a major role in separating the outstanding managers from the mediocre managers. Most managers are aware of the need for both verbal and written communication in the workplace. But there are many other forms of communication. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you read an e-mail it has a “tone” that makes you can feel offended, hurt, and/or insulted? Or have you ever spoke with someone on the phone and felt that they were being rude? These examples show that there is much more involved in communication that speaking and writing words. The best way to ensure that your point is being understood is to have a face to face conversation and to be attentive to how the receiver is reacting to what they are hearing. Body language is a big part of communication and helps us convey our message when communicating.
I just read an article titled, Advanced Communication Skills by Sean McPheat, where he explains that humans actually use all five of their senses which include: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste when communicating. An example, of sight communication would be a red office door. Although the manager has told their staff that they have an open door policy, the red door could send a silent contradictory message. This is because red is usually associated with stop and could cause employees to not visit the manager if they do not have an appointment. Managers need to be aware of all the different forms of communication and make sure that they are not sending unintentional signals. Also leaders should use as many different forms of communication as possible to ensure understanding. For example, if a manager has just advised their staff of a new process and then notices that one of their staff members is slightly frowning, this could be a sign that they do not understand or that they do not agree. Manager need to be able to recognize and interpret these warning signals and give further explanation for the change.
In today’s highly competitive and continuously changing business world, leaders need to ensure that they are able to effectively influence work situations to ensure productivity. Leaders need to have conflict resolution skills so that they can quickly identify potential problems and address them immediately. Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of all organizations, but how it is handled is what will separate successful leaders from mediocre managers. I just read an article by Gregory Smith that was very informative. Smith discusses nine ways to handle conflict which are:
- To understand the situation – it is important for managers to gather all the facts before they start to resolve the issue.
- Acknowledge the problem – a good leader will address an issue even if the employee/s that were involved state that they do not wish to pursue the matter.
- Be patient and take your time – do not make hasty decisions, instead make sure to gather and evaluate all information.
- Avoid using coercion and intimidation – if a problem is not solved, it will re-surface and be worse because it has festered.
- Focus on the problem, not the individual – don’t let personal feelings get in the way. Instead find the root cause of the problem and solve it.
- Establish guidelines – establish standards for how each person will conduct themselves in the meeting. For example, not interrupting the other person.
- Keep the communication open – part of solving a conflict is being able to voice your opinions and being heard.
- Act decisively – once you have gathered and analyzed all the available information, make a decision and act as quickly as possible.
I thought Smith did a great job of discussing all the aspects of conflict resolution. If you would like to read the article for yourself, I have provided the web address below.