Monday, April 14, 2014

Leadership and the skills required

Last week, I happen to attend wonderful training session by Manishaa Barretto. The topic was leadership and the skills required to be a successful leader. Below is almost word to word transcript of the session with due permission from the trainer. The trainer is more than happy to share her thoughts and research for benefit of larger audience. Thank you Manishaa.

The difference between a leader and a manager:
 As the word goes, a leader is someone who leads the team and manager is someone who manages the team. In today's world, a person must play both the roles as per the situation.

Difference between managers and leaders

Typical traits of leader could be a person with vision, is goal oriented, motivates his team and leads from the front.
Typical traits of manager could be a person who is more concerned about getting things done, is work oriented, ability to find start performer in the team and bringing discipline in the team. Hence, we can understand that a project would need a person with both the qualities.

Coming to leadership styles.
Below is the list of leadership styles, out of which a leader may adopt all or some of it depending upon the situation.

Autocratic leadership style:
Such leaders go by the single line: My way or no way. He is adamant on following his set of procedures. You either play by his/her rules or you do not play at all. They are rigid. Make no mistake, such people are needed in many projects. Many times, the team is a set of young enthusiastic people with no experience. In this case, each person would be wiling to go extra mile and be creative in their own way. Problem may be that client has laid down few set of rules, which you just cannot break. Also, if a person thinks in his/her own way, there would be no bonding in the team. Hence, in such situations limited use of Autocratic style of leadership would work.

Coercive leadership style:
Leader who leads his team only by fear is called as coercive leader. Most of the times, such leaders are damaging to the team, organization and project. No wonder that attrition rate is high in their teams. However, such leaders may still find work in projects which has bunch of rude and arrogant people (with whom other leaders do not want to work).

Bureaucratic leadership style:
The leader from this category would follow every rule from book. They follow and implement each and every policy laid down. Nothing wrong, but we all know that many policies are useless in crunch situations and we have to be flexible in our approach. Flexibility has no place in Bureaucratic leadership style. They are talented, hard working but not flexible when it comes to policies and procedures.

Democratic leadership style:
As the word suggests, such leaders emphasize on team engagement. They encourage creativity. They keep the team informed about all the activities. They promote fair team play. However, they retain decision making process.

Transformational leadership style:
He is ideal guy. He is democratic, calm, has fantastic team management skills, he controls other effectively. More importantly, has self control mechanism. The only chink in armour is they tend to take decision in biased or sentimental way.

The next important aspect of effective leader is delegation.
What is delegation? -- Delegation implies assigning work to subordinates. This was from layman's view. Below is trainers' definition: Delegation is assignment of accountability and authority to carry out specific activity in order to reduce workload of leader and increase skills of subordinates.

Below are the types of delegation methods:

Types of delegation

Delegate to teach:
This is basic level of delegation. It is used to teach fresher or new joiners in the organization. It is like saying "Do exactly as I say". Absolutely, no delegation of authority.

Delegate to direct:
Here the leader gives the instructions in a step by step manner. The audience is neither fresher nor experts. The objective is to give direction to audience. Here we have limited or no delegation of authority.

Delegate to support:
Here the leader assigns the task and asks the subordinates to complete few pre-defined tasks in independent manner. It is to support the subordinate to grow.

Delegate to improve:
Here the leader assigns tasks and does limited monitoring. The task is often divided into phases. Review happens at the end of phase. This is done to improve the subordinate's abilities. Much authority is delegated.

Delegate to do:
Here the leader simply assigns the task and asks the subordinate just to inform him what is going on. Here the leader trusts the subordinate completely. Almost, all authority rests with the subordinate. However, subordinate choses how much to use that authority.

Finally, what are the steps for delegation?

Here the leader decides which method of delegation to use. Which method would be appropriate for him and his subordinate. He has to consider the experience of his subordinates and their willingness to complete the task. The leader has clear conversation with the candidate. Explains his roles and responsibilities. Leader explains what must be done, how it must be done and why the said candidate is chosen.

Delegate the tasks:
Prepare phase wise tasks and assign after previous step's discussion. The expectation, too, must be clearly communicated.

Monitoring depends upon the importance of the task, expectation of lead and candidate, complexity of work, working relationships. Monitoring may be direct (i.e. observe directly, ask about milestones and status meetings) or indirect (i.e. track the progress through some frequently updated sheets or monitoring tools).

Here the leader evaluates the outcome of the task. Evaluation helps both the leader and subordinate. Leader understands both the task status and his own delegation capabilities. On the other hand, it helps candidate understand where he stand and where he needs improvement.

1 comment:

  1. Viren Thanks but its Too descriptive make this lesson short