Be flexible whenever you can, be firm, whenever you must (Ventura, 2008)
It is a well-known fact that it is easier to plan changes other than to put them into practice. A good manager knows that employees usually come into conflict with any changes and transformations, and his main goal is to make the process as less painful as possible.
Changes in an organization can be described as a set of measured, that can ensure a successful transition from one level of development to another, higher level. Of course, changes also occur when a company reduces production, or refocuses its activity.
It is not a secret that there are scores of factors that can slow down the implementation of changes in the organization, making them ineffective. Most managers tend to explain the failure in the changing process as a resistance of employees to change. The main reason of such resistance is the mentality of the employees, who always have the potential resistance to novelty. It is obvious that an organizational change entails rejection of the established behavior reevaluation criteria and management structure, and it usually affects the people’s interests, causing their resistance. There are various forms and degrees of resistance. Some express this by delaying the adoption and implementation of these new solutions, causing unforeseen delays, additional costs and instability of the change process.
One can highlight three main reasons for resistance to change:
Economic — potential threat of loss of wages paid or sources of income, fear of unemployment, deprivation of privileges and benefits, high costs and time to implement change;
Organizational — unwillingness to change the existing system of production and personal relations, the established balance of power, fear for the future career, workplace, the response to previous bad experience changes;
Personal — reluctance to change habits, inertia, fear of a new threat position, personal power, status in the organization, loss of respect in the eyes of management and colleagues, awareness of their incompetence to perceive a new disbelief in the possibility of personal reluctance to take on new responsibilities and decision-making.
In my opinion, every leader has to know all the reasons that cause the opposition to change, as such knowledge will help him to manage the changing process, and make it successful.
Once a famous American management guru, Daryl Conner said: “If you want people to change, do not give them a choice If you want to make a major change, you need to convince all of your workers, 75% of managers and practically all the leaders of the organization that the change is tremendously important.” (Conner, 1993) I totally agree with the aforementioned statement, and believe that everyone should know the reason of the change, understand and support it.
As one has already noticed, my manner of governance is a mix of two different styles, combining democratic and transformational features. At work, I always to my best to decentralize the power, and make everyone participate in the core processes. I strongly believe that this will consequently lead to a well-organized leader system — subordinate communication. Having the confidence if everything I am doing, I also try to share it and instill this confidence in every employee.
My leadership style depends on the context. For example, when I need to explain the importance of a CRM system, I use a friendly style of governance, however, if the employees stick up to, the friendly style is automatically switched off, and my subordinates face another me — an authoritarian leader, which cannot be disobeyed.
Being a democratic manager most of the time, in my workplace I am guided by a set of principles, which will be discussed below.
The first principle is: do not scare people. Employees should never be frightened with fines, wage cuts, repressive measures — is counter-productive. Once a manager takes these measures, all he gets is an offended employee who would certainly try to take revenge once he has a chance. I believe that a good leader must act very tough and at the same time thoughtfully. If I need a staff member to follow my instructions, the easiest way is to allocate responsibility between the whole team. The employee must be punished not by manager, but by the whole team. Let’s take a look at couple examples of how to make an employee do things right from the first time.
Fist problem, which will be discussed, is a violation of terms and other operational errors. I understand that the deadlines tend to be missed. Always.
Everywhere. In any project. Therefore, a team leader and me always have an agreement on an acceptable period of disruption, and we are the only ones who know the real deadlines. In this case, at 10% — 30 % infringement period, we still have time to fulfill our obligations. But in any case, when the developer violates the term he will be punished.
The key point here is that the employee must undergo punishment in the form of a process that is beneficial to everyone. Worker loses his spare time; the team gets a great experience and report employee grows professionally and invests in its intellectual capital. I am always the one who approves any penalty incurred by the employee.
Laziness. If a person avoids work, is unwilling to grow, and we are in a difficult situation, I fire him. We are not a family, and if he likes to spend more time talking, smoking cigarettes, while his works is always slow and not very effective, he is fired. Moreover, all people need to understand who and why dismiss employees. Even if it's my best friend or a leading developer, he still will be fired. One should not be afraid to lose people, but he should be afraid to lose the keys to managing them.
The second principle is about work. “Leading the basic core processes (one for people, one for strategy and one for budgeting or operations) is a real job of running a business. The leader has to believe in them and be actively involved in them.” (Bossidy, 2002)
I am confident that when any problems arise, a good leader should not walk away. Even if he is not the smartest developer, for example, he is an experienced manager, whose solutions can often help the team in solving the problem. I find it okay to offer organizational solutions to technical problems, as sometimes they are more than relevant. And I also believe that only a manager should take all the responsibility for the completed work in front of the customer. No matter who failed the project, the manager should communicate with the customer about it, and only then talk to his team, and decide who has to be punished.
I am a leader, which takes the responsibility, who is not afraid to participate in discussions, and offer stupid ideas. I work hard, and my employees see it.
Another principle of mine is about communicating with the employees. I am never locked in the office, as I know that I have to be a team leader, and not to allow opinion leaders to take my credibility. I do that not because I want power, but because I am the one who is responsible for all the consequences.
And the last, but not the least principle is: be prepared. I am always ready for everything. I believe that a real leader had to exude confidence and convince the whole team that you will break through any problem.
Four simple things: do not be scared, work hard, communicate with employees and always be ready help me to be a good manager, who can lead the team under any circumstances. These principles help me to successfully perform my functions: planning, organizing, staffing, motivating, and controlling.
Also, a very big impact on my leadership style had the book named “Lead Right”, by Steve Ventura. The book comprises scores of valuable lessons, and I will share the main ones here.
So, the first, or even the introductory lesson I have received that a good leader is not allowed to do a lot of things he used to do when he was just an employee. The leader cannot act based on feelings, rather than facts. As a manager, I also do not have the luxury of walking away when things happen not the way I want them to. And of course, I have learned that being a leader, I can no longer expect someone else to fix the problem — I have to do it on my own.
The next lesson I have learned is that all the results come from the whole team, not the leader himself. If a team fails, a manager fails as well. However in order to reach the point when the whole team works for the good of the company, the manager has to have a well-developed style of leadership, that will lead him to being an effective leader. I have came up with the conclusion that the most efficient style of leadership is so-called laissez-fair, when all the team members do what they have to do, and a manager acts as an invisible hand, that controls and guides all the processes.
I always try to be an example to my teammates. No matter what I do, no matter how I do it, I know that people will think that it is a standard, no matter what is written in the set of company’s rules. So, I always remember, that in order for people to do things right — I have to do them right, as well. Or even better.
And the last lesson, but not less important: a good leader has to recognize people who do things right. It encourages them and makes such a behavior repeated. As a result, you will have a productive team, people who know that they are needed in the organization, as they will see that their work is appreciated. Recognition by the manager will meet one of the needs or every person (according to Maslow) need to be respected by others. In my working career, I have always considered this rule to be the most important.
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Cole, G. A. (2004). Management theory and practice (6th ed.). London: Thomson Learning.
Conner, Daryl. Managing at the speed of change: how relisient managers succeed and prosper where others fail. New York: Villiard Books, 1993. Prin
Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schust
Schermerhorn, John R.. Management. 10th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley, 2010. Print.
Taylor, G. R., & Nixon, L. (2004). Practical application of classroom management theories into strategies. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.
Trahair, R. (2009). Elton Mayo: The Humanist Temper. : Transaction Publishers. (Original work published 1984)
Ventura, Steve. Start right, stay right — lead right: every leader’s straight-talk guide to JOB SUCCESS. Flower Mound, Tex. : WALK THE TALK Co., 2008. Print.