Improve your leadership and management

Leadership and management
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The Best Wisdom, Tools and Processes for Leaders and Managers

7 things to make you a better leader in 2013

Leaders and managers constantly have to analyze situations, improve teamwork and make decisions. Here are some simple models and tools to ensure success.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Named after US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Matrix is great time management tool for leaders and managers. The process is an aid in categorizing whether a task is either important or not important, urgent or not urgent. The matrix comprises of four categories to help prioritise work:

  • Important, but not urgent – tasks that should be planned in to the diary
  • Urgent and important – jobs that should be done directly
  • Not important, not urgent – chores that can be done another time
  • Urgent but not important – assignments that can be given to someone else

The Pareto Principle

An Italian economist called Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of output comes from just 20% of the input. In other words 80% of a companies revenues comes from just 20% of its customers, or 80% of an employees productivity comes from just 20% of their time. The crucial thing for leaders and managers is to ascertain the most fruitful 20% of their work and concentrate on that.

The SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is based upon a study done at Stanford University and is an easy yet effectual method of situational analysis. Using this method a leader can easily get a snapshot of the internal and external influences that are affecting their team or business. SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths (Internal)
  • Weaknesses (Internal)
  • Opportunities (External)
  • Threats (External)

All that a leader needs to do is to consider the key factors under each heading. In this way they can effectively communicate the essential things that need to be understood and addressed.

SWOT Analysis Matrix Template
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Maslow’s Hierarchy

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, developed by the psychologist Abraham Maslow, is important for a leader or manager, as it is a key to understanding motivation. The hierarchy identifies the essential human needs as:

  • Physiological needs (such as eating, sleeping, sex)
  • Security (including shelter, work, health, physical security)
  • Social relationships (from friends, community, love, a partner)
  • Recognition (power, money, position)
  • Self-actualisation (spirituality, belief, self-fulfilment)

The first three are basic needs and if these requirements are met then an individual does not think about them. The latter two involve continued development and therefore can never be fully satisfied.

The Making-of Model

Developed by The Grove consulting agency, this process uses examples from the past to learn lessons for the future. A project, business venture or event can be analysed by reflecting upon:

  • The people involved
  • The goals from the time
  • The problems that were solved
  • The successes
  • The lessons learned

The Belbin Team Model

This model is based upon research conducted by Dr Meredith Belbin where nine profiles were identified in successful teams. Each role has individual strengths and weaknesses, but the weaknesses are balanced out when all the functions are present. The profiles are:

  • Plant – creative and inventive but can be unorthodox
  • Co-ordinator – decisive but can over delegate
  • Shaper – overcomes problems but can be impatient or aggressive
  • Resource Investigator – someone who identifies prospects from outside of the team but can forget to follow things up
  • Implementer – task focussed but can be slow to relinquish their plans
  • Monitor Evaluator – logical and analytical but can be slow and overly critical
  • Teamworker – versatile and helps the team gel but can be indecisive
  • Completer Finisher – adds polish to what is being delivered but can be too focussed on detail
  • Specialist – brings specialist skills to a team but can be narrow in their approach

The Conflict Resolution Model

Psychologists have recognized that there are six ways in which people react to conflict situations. If a leader or manager understands these they can identify a response and seek a better solution. By striving for the ideal result all parties can come out as winners. The six reactions are:

  • Fight. This aggressive reaction is an attempt to defeat the cause of the conflict. The downside, in a business or team context, is that one party ends us as the loser (win-lose).
  • Flight. Fleeing a conflict is avoidance; it does not solve the issue and is likely to remain a problem for either side (lose-lose).
  • Give up. Some people fight, others give up; the result is the same; there is one winner but also one loser (lose-win).
  • Evade responsibility. If someone if out of depth in a conflict they might call upon someone else to take over. Bringing in a third party is similar to flight and generally leads to a lose-lose situation.
  • Compromise. If concessions are made by both sides then the conflict may have been resolved but at a loss to both parties (win-lose/win-lose).
  • Reaching consensus. With creative thinking a conflict can be turned into an opportunity. In this way both parties can benefit. This is the optimal result (win-win).

 For more help on developing your leadership and management have a look at The Top 5 Leadership and Management Books.