There is an old Mongolian proverb saying that “an army of donkeys led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a donkey.” Now, some people may think using this ancient wisdom to describe the importance of management in the contemporary business environment is both exaggerated and inaccurate. These people are wrong on both accounts.
First, the world of business is not unlike the old battlefield where victories were won equally by resources and inspired leadership. Second, in a recent survey, 58% of employees stated poor management as the biggest obstacle in a way of optimal productivity.
So, efficient management is crucial for the success of a business. Now, let’s take a look at a couple of ways to improve your leadership skills and adapt them to the contemporary business environment.
Reach a better understanding of the word manager
We are all often guilty of looking at managers as some kind of connecting tissue that passes the orders from the senior staff to the lower-ranked workers. Such a narrow interpretation of such a critical position has to be one of the main reasons why so many inexperienced executives fail. In reality, a good manager should be able to:
- Successfully set objectives — Set specific goals and suggest the ways how to reach the said goals
- Motivate and communicate — Incite inspiration and clearly communicate specific decisions
- Organize — Divide the necessary work into manageable chunks and assign them to appropriate employees
- Work on development — Help employees reach their full professional potential
Only by implementing and working to develop the mentioned skills can you ever hope to become a successful executive.
Understand the modern concept of leadership
The word leadership has changed many meanings over in the course of history. Now, when the Millennial generation has finally taken the title of the predominant generation of the contemporary workforce, what it means to be a successful leader is once again undergoing a gradual transformation. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the most desirable leadership skills suited to the modern business environment.
- Optimism — Approaching challenges like opportunities rather than obstacles.
- Technical prowess — Implementation of latest technologies in day-to-day operations
- Adaptability — The ability to think outside the box and quickly craft strategies for unexpected scenarios
- Passion — A genuine commitment to the values and goals of the company
- Different points of view — The ability to look at the problems from the workers’ perspective and if necessary challenge the hierarchy.
- Lively spirit — Contemporary managers should be able to elevate the daily tasks to something more fun and inspiring
As we can see, most of these mentions are purely personal traits that have very little to do with corporate requirements we have encountered over the last couple of decades.
Streamline important processes
Modern workplaces are becoming more challenging both for workers and managers as well. The only way to come on top of this rising pile of obligations as a manager is to implement the latest tech solutions to streamline the important daily routines.
Let us take the payroll process for example. If you use an automated payroll card service, you are not only going to save a lot of time you would otherwise spend performing the task manually — you also get a more versatile funds transfer model that is much better suited to the currently popular employment arrangements (freelancing, telecommuting, etc.).
Of course, payroll is just one mention in the long list of tasks that can be partially or completely handed out to AI. Other tasks that come to mind are scheduling, communication, evaluation, recruitment, and records management.
Work on reliability and time management
We chose to put these two things together because they are interdependent. If you manage to improve your time management skills, you will be able to perform your tasks with better focus and appear more reliable. But, you have to keep in mind that you are not putting effort into these things just for the sake of doing so.
Your end goal is clear and precise. As a manager, you need to make enough room to promptly respond to all employee requests and suggestions — something very difficult to achieve if you are juggling countless different tasks at the same time. So, look at the time as your friend rather than enemy, schedule even the most menial tasks, set realistic goals, plan ahead and become a more reliable and accessible leader in the process.
Become a servant leader
Millennials have long been branded as the generation that disagrees with all kinds of authorities. Although this kind of generalization is simply too broad, there are some pieces of research indicating that younger people do indeed have a certain contempt for workplace authoritarianism. Therefore, the best way to approach the Millennial workers is to assume the mantle of a servant leader.
Essentially, a manager who is servant leaders could be best described as executives that, in certain matters, consciously put themselves under their subjects and allow them greater freedom and initiative. Of course, this doesn’t mean becoming a pushover — just empowering the employees to make decisions in areas they consider vital.
Nurture the atmosphere of friendship, tolerance, and solidarity
We have always known that high-quality relationships and mutual trust translate to increased performance, and as of recently, we have solid scientific data to back this knowledge up. The question arises, what you, as a figure of authority can do to encourage these positive interactions?
The easiest way would be to set a personal example. If you try to appear as a friendly, honest, and open-minded figure willing to take interest in the employees’ personal issues, you will, effectively, root out the atmosphere of secrecy and encourage the workers to take similar steps.
Also, you should do your best to nurture the atmosphere of mutual solidarity, and don’t allow healthy workplace competition to grow into something that can potentially damage the interpersonal relationship. Finally, take the employees’ side when you feel they are right, even if that means coming into conflict with the senior staff.
We hope these couple of tips will help you get some general idea of what it means to be an effective leader/manager in 2020. As we can see, aside from a couple of suggestions that will help you streamline everyday procedures, most of the things we covered are based on soft skills. But, that is the reality of the contemporary business environment. The executives that are not able to inspire confidence, loyalty, and trust will become less and less desirable in this new climate.