Tom-portrait-150x150Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blog www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H). Here’s his post:

So you’re a leader. How are your management skills?

Too many leaders think management is below them, and as a result they fail as leaders. “Visionaries” have been known to have their heads in the clouds and miss the potholes under their feet.

Good leaders manage well, but not all good managers lead well.

Managing little things prevents big leadership crises.

What are the essential little things that must be managed well?

  • Hiring.  Don’t delegate hiring important positions. Hiring well now prevents management issues later.
  • Talent management.  If someone isn’t utilizing their talents in their job, they will feel unsatisfied. They might eventually leave if it goes on long enough. Restructuring takes advantage of underutilized talent.
  • Employee feedback.  Asking what people think tells them you care about them.
  • Communicated focus.  A one-sentence purpose for everyone helps them manage themselves. Disney’s is “Make sure that every Guest has the most fabulous time of his or her life.”
  • Mission minutia.  A mission is accomplished one task at a time. Mission must be accomplished in every process, meeting and project.
  • Clear job descriptions.  When people know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, they can be managed less.

A leader makes sure the right processes are in place, then pushes people to improve or speed up those processes.

A leader uncovers hassles people experience on the job. Ray Cockerell, Disney’s former EVP of Operations, used to ask his managers, “What happens on your job that makes you want to quit?”

If little things aren’t managed well in your organization, they will frustrate your team members. Frustrated people aren’t happy. They don’t produce their best work.

Frustrated employees complain to their coworkers, multiplying frustration like gangrene.

Happy workers create magic.

What do you need to manage more closely?

Recommended resource: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney, by Lee Cockerell

 

Greg Atkinson

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