Comparison between Leadership skills of Project Manager versus Operations Manager
Leadership qualities in a manager are essential for influencing the employees to make an effort towards realizing organizational goals. A manager must have the necessary skills to evaluate a situation, make plans to achieve predetermined targets and guide his team for achieving them. These targets may be set for a short term or for a long term; an operation manager is concerned with achieving short term targets where as a project manager takes decisions on long term issues. Both exercise leadership skills for achieving the goals, which have some common and different components which have been compared in the study.
The case discussed here is that of the manager of a large retail store who is confronted with a situation where he has to decide what department he should introduce in the retail store versus a sales manager in a house ware department. The study examines the leadership skills displayed by both the managers which may have some common and different elements.
LEADERSHIP SKILLS OF A RETAIL STORE MANAGER
A retail store Manager interested in expanding operations by setting up a new department must have a distinct leadership style that is Dynamic as a time constraint is attached to the expansion project and is democratic; he must take suggestions from his team, with medium intensity and people oriented. To summarize he must be a facilitating leader and must be able to take decisions as per the situation. He must exhibit the following skills
Evaluating Skills – He must be able to assess the external and internal factors associated with the expansion. He must study the external trends, competition, and demand etc. for the product he has in mind. He should have the skills to determine whether the product is connected to the line of existing business and the competencies of the employees are adequate to handle the new department. He must have the strategic leadership skills to plan according to external and internal strengths and weaknesses to decide on the project.
Planning Skills – He must be able to draw a plan based on forecasts and provide the resources needed during the project life. He should be able to compute a timeline for his project and schedule the steps accordingly. He should be able to analyse the trends and plan the launching at the right time.
Facilitating skills – He must have the skills to mobilise the resources at the exact time in order to facilitate the smooth running of the project without any interruptions or delay.
Monitoring skills – He must have the ability to undertake periodic assessment to ascertain whether the project is running as per the plans and is on schedule. If there are any inconsistencies, he must be able to provide a solution for it.
Delegating Skills – He should be able to assign the responsibilities to his team members according to their skills and the work requirement.
Motivating Skills – He must have the necessary expertise to inspire his team members to perform efficiently by giving regular feedbacks and appreciation of his efforts.
Communication Skills – He must have excellent communication skills to provide the necessary information, feedback and exact requirements to the team members as well as the stake holders.
Conflict Solving Skills – He should be able to solve the conflicts arising between the team members among themselves or with others like customers, vendors and other stakeholders effectively.
Decision Making Skills – He should possess the ability to make decisions as per the situation which is fast yet takes into consideration all the relevant factors. He should be able to decide about hiring or terminating the employees, rewarding or punishing them and making changes in plans
Crisis Management Skills – He should be able to plan in advance for unforeseen contingencies like shortage of resources, accidents or other forms of crisis. He should have alternate plans ready for contingencies which can be initiated immediately if confronted by an emergency.
LEADERSHIP SKILLS OF OPERATIONS MANAGER
A sales manager in the retail store looking after day to day operations should also display leadership style and skills to accomplish the sales target. But his style should be somewhat different from the Project Manager who plans for a longer term where as a sales manager of the house ware department must plan for the short term. However both leaders satisfy Fiedler’s contingency leadership model because the factors described by Fiedler are the same like leader member relationship, nature of the task and power of the leader (Vliet Vincent Van 2).But a sales manager’s style should be more of a directing leader as he must take immediate decisions. The leadership skills which are similar are given below
Delegating skills – He must be able to mobilise the resources as per the demand by delegating responsibilities as per situation.
Conflict resolution skills – Must be able to resolve conflicts arising in day to day operations such as between sales person and customers or among sales person.
Motivating Skills – He should be able to motivate the sales staff to perform efficiently to win customer satisfaction through positive feedback and incentives.
Communicating Skills – He should be able to communicate to his subordinates about the targets, policies and rules clearly to avoid confusion.
His skills are different from the project manager as they are more of responsive skills to situations. These skills may be presented as
Skill to react fast – Since most of the day to day situations cannot be predicted in advance, a sales manager must take immediate decisions according to the need of the situation like customer complaints, replacements, theft or discounting etc.
Ability to work under pressure – Since there is no scheduling of day to day operations he must be prepared to work under pressure unlike a project manager who works according to a schedule.
Situational Leadership skills – A sales manager must have situational leadership skills that enable him to take fast decisions based on the situation and adjust the available resources accordingly.
Vliet Vincent Van. “Fiedler contingency model” Toolshero.2013.Web .Accessed 28th march 2016 at <http://www.toolshero.com/leadership/fiedler-contingency-model. Html>