Leadership is one of the biggest challenges managers face. How to be an effective leader, that effectively motivates staff to get their jobs done and with the quality of an owner.
One way to look at leadership is situational. In this model we tailor our behavior as leaders to the employee. For a new employee, the manager’s behavior is very directive.
We’re in training mode; we give lots of information and direction. Our goal is to move an employee through several stages to a point where we are the coach and mentor, and the amount of time and direction needed from us is minimal. The employee is able to do the job well without our direction. But, we can’t just jump from directive to coach. There are a couple of additional transition stages. After directing, the manager is still telling the employee what to do, but the level of telling and direction has decreased. The employee is able to do the task with some direction and feedback, versus total direction and feedback.
The third stage is one in which the leader or manager’s role is one of support and motivation. The staff member is able to do the task with little intervention from the manager. The fourth stage is the goal, one in which the staff member is fully competent and empowered to do their job with the support and mentorship of the manager. In this stage the manager is the cheerleader, acknowledging accomplishments and the motivator.
Although, it would be easy to have linear maps of human behavior, this again is not the case. As the manager, you will have to move easily through the different phases and be able to step back if an employee needs more direction at some point. You also will move back to directing when a new task or job duty is assigned that the employee has never done before. At this point, a new training and mentorship cycle is started and the manager’s role is to provide the support needed to move successfully through each phase of developing competence to the final stage of empowered action, in which the employee is capable of doing high quality work.
By John Benson