September '15

Issue link: http://read.uberflip.com/i/563336

Contents of this Issue


Page 119 of 143

106 • RV PRO • SEPTEMBER 2015 rv-pro.com Business Institute, a consulting firm based in St. Louis. "Unfortunately, such people often become just adequate leaders." Avdoian suggests a more effective approach for assessing management can- didates: "Look for employees with qualities that make great leaders," he says. "Do they deal with people in an effective way? Do others like working with them? When they speak, do their colleagues listen? Do they rally others to complete tasks?" Lead the Way Those questions suggest the importance of one personal characteristic: The ability to inspire others to great performance. And that ability, in turn, suggests the truism that transformational "leadership skills" – not the ability to manage select projects – are more important than ever in today's work environment. "New managers and supervisors need to understand the difference between man- aging and leading," says Lois P. Frankel, a partner at Corporate Coaching Interna- tional in Los Angeles. "Managing is about producing measurable outcomes: About controlling budgets and costs and work output. Managers tend to mandate policies and procedures that too often restrain new ideas from getting off the ground." Leadership is different. "Leaders clear the way for great ideas to come to fruition," says Frankel. "They inspire people to create change and meet challenges." Managing, while critical to getting tasks done, is less than effective when dealing with people, she says. "You can manage the organizational process, but you must lead people." If it sounds like prospective leaders might be harder to find than nascent man- agers, that assessment is correct, according to experts. "We often see strong managers," Frankel says, "but seldom strong leaders." Spot the Leader If promising leaders are scarce on the ground, it follows that a business will need to sharpen its skills for identifying them when they do appear. And that begins with an understanding of the specific charac- teristics of strong leadership, according to experts. "Great leaders possess transformational skill sets," says Lauran Star, a business con- sultant based in Bedford, N.H. "You need to spot people who like change, who see issues well before they become problems, and who think outside the box and develop creative solutions rather than just putting out fires." Leaders are able to develop teams and have the discipline to manage themselves well. Such competencies might be assessed by many points of measurement. For example, the ability to develop teams might be assessed by the tendency to grant deserved recognition, to take a win-win approach to negotiating solutions, to play fair in judge- ment and action, to foster collaboration across different cross functional boundaries, and to manage and resolve conflict. Communicate Well Great leaders also have the ability to communicate with others, according to Randy Goruk, president of The Randall Wade Group in Scottsdale, Ariz. "Ineffective communication leads to many problems," he says. "Frustration. Anger. Conflict. Low productivity. Poor quality work. Higher costs. It's a killer." Communication skills have become even more important because of changing demographics, says Star. "Today, we have Baby Boomers who are letter writers, Gen Xers who are emailers and phone callers, and Millennials who are Tweeters and instant messagers. Good leaders are able to communicate with members of all these generations in all these ways." What's good for the employee is good for the customer. "Leaders communicate well with all the generations making up an organization's customer base," Star says. "Leaders under- stand what marketing messages will drive sales with diverse audiences." Prepare for Launch Spotting employees with leadership skills is important. Seldom, though, does one prospective leader possess all the requisite skills at the level required. Enter training. It's smart to put a training program in place that will teach people what it's like to be a manager before they get promoted. Training, of course, can be expensive. One way to reduce the cost is to make temporary work assignments that give people the chance to lead and to decide if the management life is right for them, experts say. Johanna Rothman, founder of Rothman Consulting Group in Arlington, Mass., suggests approaching promising candidates with words such as these: "Why don't you manage one or two people as a team leader? You can practice your skills in coaching and in providing feedback." Then, says Rothman, set a date and time to discuss any issues that might have arisen during the candidate's time in control. Helping Hands Mentors can help newly promoted leaders succeed. "Employees with formal mentor rela- tionships tend to value them," Goruk says. "They say things like 'Mentors are good because they hold me accountable for things. They share different perspec- tives and are experienced in overcoming the challenges I am facing.'" But take care in assigning mentors to your nascent leaders. Not everyone is good at the job. "Mentors must have the desire to be mentors," says Goruk. "They must want to help people succeed and have an interest in people personally and professionally." Coaches, too, can help pave the way for successful promotions. They differ from mentors in the level of control and input they provide their wards. "A mentor teaches skills; a coach helps a person navigate through professional devel- opment," explains Avdoian, the CEO of Midwest Business Institute. Gen Xers tend to need mentors, while Millennials tend to need coaches, according to Star. The disparity results from the dif- fering psychology of the two groups. "Gen Xers are proactive about improving themselves," says Star. "They have taken

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of RV PRO - September '15