Leadership as a Management Tool


To run a business effectively, you need to master the art of leadership.

Management entails creating effective systems and procedures for your team members.  It includes drawing up effectual operational guidelines that help team members get through the day-to-day detail of their jobs.  However, these are not leadership activities. 

Leadership is more about creating and communicating a vision, and motivating people to work towards it.  When you lead, you focus primarily on human nature, rather than on operational details.  And you do it with the aim of getting people aligned and moving in one direction…the direction that will make your business soar.

Leadership is all about developing highly motivated, goal directed people, and creating a workplace climate in which they can perform to their best.  It is based on two things:

  1. Understanding the motivation of the people who work for you, and
  2. Being able to get them to work towards your vision of where the business is going.

Let’s look at what motivates people to give their best in the work place. Without an understanding of this you may set up the wrong structures and add challenges to getting your team headed in the right direction.

Employees’ Rank

Item

Employer’s Rank

1

Interesting work

5

2

Appreciation and recognition

8

3

Feeling “in on things”

10

4

Job security

2

5

Good wages

1

6

Promotion/growth

3

7

Good working conditions

4

8

Personal loyalty

6

9

Tactful discipline

7

10

Sympathetic help with problems

9

From: Niebrugge, Vicki, Declining Employee Morale: Defining the Causes and Finding the Cure, NOVA Group.)

Vision and direction are essential for greatness. In world-class organizations, every-one has a clear sense of where the enterprise is going. Vision helps people make smart choices because their decisions are being made with the end result in mind.

It’s not always easy to formulate a vision statement for your business. You need to think about exactly why you are in business, how you want your business to be distinctive, and how you want your clients/customers to think of you. Your vision needs to be crystal clear. A vision that is too vague is difficult to set up specific strategies for furthering it. It needs substance that your team members will unite around providing them with enjoyable and interesting work.

I’m not going to go into the how’s and why’s of developing a vision statement here. The main point is to understand that having a well thought out vision is actually central to being an effective leader – without a road map you don’t know where you are going, or what you need to plan to get there.

You’ll appreciate the amount of focus and direction a good vision statement can introduce if you consider what is involved in developing one:

  • Focusing on how effective your current operations are,
  • Listing measurable objectives for the future, and
  • Developing a unique core differentiator to provide the basis for competitive advantage in your field of business.

A vision statement differs from a mission statement in that it’s deigned solely for internal use, serving as a framework for decision making.  Conversely, a mission statement is more often a concise phrase used in marketing materials. It may be an excerpt from the vision statement. However, by itself a mission statement is not an adequate guide to building your business.

Your vision statement should be a lengthy (1-2 pages), well-written document that identifies your priorities and expresses where you want to the business to be long-term (5-7 years). It provides a framework to your team about what culture you are trying to create, what your values are, and what initiatives you will focus on.

Include your team when developing your vision statement. You will benefit from their additional input, it will improve their understanding of what the main purpose of the business is, and you will get their buy in from the start.

When people share and believe in a vision of what the organization can be, they generate tremendous energy, excitement, and passion. They feel they are making a difference. Managers don’t need to control. They let others assume responsibility because everyone shares the vision and is clear about the goals and direction. There is more room for creativity and risk taking. People can make their contributions in their own way, and any differences are respected because people know they are in this together…all part of a larger whole soaring to the next level.

Advertisements

About Don James, CPA/PFS, CFP
Don is the Tax & Financial Planning partner with Kiplinger & Co., CPAs headquartered in sunny Cleveland, Ohio since 1982. He partners with business owners and families and specializes in goal achievement solutions, tax minimization strategies and serves in the role of gatekeeper of sound financial advice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: