Back To Basics – Being Organised

One of the most important skills a manager can possess is the ability to be organised. Not only does your work require structured thinking, discipline and action, it also requires the ability to juggle a multitude of jobs at any one time – all with their own complexities and client expectations. Now add transformation into the mix. Actions to undertake, deadlines to meet, changes to implement etc And now there is all the normal day to day administrative work to do – performance reviews, management reporting, marketing the business, coaching the team and the list goes on.

So how do you get through all this work without working 24 hours a day? Yes, you could employ more resources or you could get back to basics and employ simple and effective organisational skills to help you work more efficiently. Being organised is not just about getting a lot of work done. It is also about creating a work environment that is conducive to clear thinking, a lower error rate and enables you to control what you do and when you do it. It is also an environment that says to a client “We are efficient, we know what we are doing and you can have complete confidence in us to do a great job”. To achieve this and enjoy control over your workspace, here are a number of tips to improve your organisational skills:

  • Use a notebook or diary to track important notes and record action items. Your memory may be excellent, but there it is no substitute to writing actions down
  • Use checklists. Yes – not only will your new checklists be essential in creating consistent quality in your business, they will help you be more organised
  • Do one thing at a time. Multitasking is a great skill, but don’t multitask when working on client jobs. Adopt the mantra “One thing at a time”
  • Plan in advance. This is about preventative maintenance and planning, NOT reacting. Plan out your week and your day to use your time most effectively
  • Use folders and colour coding. As simple as this seems, putting things in folders (and labelling them) is an excellent way to be organised. Plus, having a tidy work area can give you a sense of control
  • Avoid cutting yourself short. We have all fallen into the trap of not allowing ourselves sufficient time to get a task complete. By being organised, you will have a clear picture of your priorities and be able to make promises you can keep
  • Use “To Do” lists. Simple; easy; inexpensive. Update your list every night before going home and revisit it every morning. Create a list for your week and refine it as the week progresses
  • Co-ordinate with others. You don’t work in a vacuum so co-ordinate efforts with your team members, especially if you need their assistance to complete a job. Your last minute rush is not their problem
  • Learn the most important word “No”. Being organised means having to occasionally say “no” to new work. Practice as this is a hard lesson to implement
  • Get the lay of the land. If you are new to the business, check out where essentials items are kept, who looks after stationery, computers, printers, photocopiers etc. Knowing where things are kept will save you time trying to sort this out later
  • Keep a tidy desk. This has to be one of the most difficult organisational techniques for a manager to implement. A tidy desk does contribute to clearer thinking, helps you avoid distractions, and reduces the chance of client work being misfiled.

Investing five minutes in improving organisational skills today will pay great dividends tomorrow!

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The Manager’s Leadership Guide

Are you an effective leader? What is your management style?

Management:

To have effective control, focus and accomplish tasks involved in a business. Leadership Being able to give guidance and motivation to employees, while having the ability to create a relationship and environment in which the employee is willingly able to apply their unique abilities to meet common goals and objectives of the business. To be an effective manager you need to be an excellent leader. As a leader you need to have competence, focus, commitment and professionalism. The excellent leaders checklist:A clear vision and purpose

  • Practical goals and objectives
  • Never ending commitment
  • Flexibility
  • Understanding
  • Strong listening skills
  • Confidence in decision making, delegating and supervising
  • Willing to take risks
  • Willing to learn from mistakes
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • Able to speak and delegate clearly and effectively
  • Realistic approaches
  • Resourceful ability

Leadership styles:

There are many styles of leadership and it is important to know that like most you aren’t going to fit into one particular category. Picking a leadership style is a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure book. You can mix and match your leadership style to suit the place of business, job role, or individual personalities working under you and so on. There are four common styles of management or leadership, and they are listed as follows.

The Director – Always setting goals, identifying problems, coming up with solutions, delegates effectively, able to give specific directions, announces decisions and supervises and evaluates their employees closely. They will usually give step-by-step instructions and will ensure that the employee is carrying out those directions efficiently and in the respective manner.

The Coach – The coach will set goals and identify problems. However, unlike the director, the coach will seek employees’ ideas, opinions and feelings. They develop plans to solve problems and make final decisions on procedures and solutions once they have consulted with their employees. The coach is likely to praise, evaluate and direct the employee’s work. Building the relationship is important to the coach and will seek the employee prior to committing themselves to something their team may reject, and will share responsibilities among them.

The Supporter – The supporter is similar to the coach in that they will involve employees in making decisions, problem solving, evaluating employees and sharing responsibility among their team. The supporter is strong on employee involvement for goal setting and will listen to the employee while guiding them as they make their decisions. The supporter will provide the employee with whatever they need to help them carry out their job. Although the supporter is strong on employee relationships, they do take leadership in defining how to do a job or solve a problem before sharing the responsibilities out.

The Delegator – The delegator will identify problems, set goals, develop plans and make decisions, but requires their team to take an active role of participation. The delegator will allow employees to decide on who does what tasks, lets employees evaluate their own work, permits their employees to take responsibility and credit for their work and accepts employees’ decisions. Although this leader will pass on responsibilities to their team, they are likely to keep tabs on their performance.

No matter which leadership style you have decided to choose or you naturally carry, it is important that you understand that:

  • An employees ability can be improved by giving them experience, knowledge and skills
  • The willingness of employees can be improved by giving encouragement and motivation
  • As an individual grows through experience, knowledge, skills and confidence, you will need to adapt your leadership style to suit
  • If an individual seems to become withdrawn and sensitive to situations, alternatively you will need to adapt to this behaviour and change your style of leadership to be more supportive and encouraging
  • There is no one style which is perfect or consistently ideal – adjust it accordingly