7 Steps to Blending Leadership with Management

By Helen Flowers, a senior consultant at Copernicus International Consulting Ltd. in Manchester, U.K.

The function of management is to keep organizations on time and on budget. To survive and prosper, however, management skills need to be blended with the art of leadership. Honesty, integrity, determination, collaboration, coordination and flexibility are all characteristics of a business leader, which along with intelligence, stamina, energy and vision make good leaders great.

Here are seven important steps to blend leadership with your management skills:
  1. Build a positive work environment. Set high standards by establishing the organization's values and striving to implement best practice throughout. 
  2. Establish the strategic direction by deciding which processes will be used to develop, review and implement the strategy. These operational aspects of the business are also the customer service delivery mechanism.
  3. Enable resources. Determine what is possible and how to maximize effectiveness of hard resources (cash, assets) and soft resources (people, technology).
  4. Invest in people. The heart of the business is your staff, so keep it healthy with a program of continuous improvement.
  5. Design the organization structure. Plan for success by defining functional areas, reporting structures, inter-functional relationships, means of measurement, control and policies.
  6. Create excellence by influencing day-to-day operations through coordination and planning.
  7. Maintain perspective. Constantly challenge the basis for the existence of the business. Is it still relevant today? In the future? What new entrants or market shifts are taking place? Ask why? What if? And what will it take to….?
Businesses cannot stand still. They either prosper or regress. Grow or decline. Make more or less money and employ more or fewer people. Business is measurable, which is why it is so great to be "in business." Your success, or otherwise, is tangible to you, your friends, family and the tax authorities.

Being in business is not about work. It is the joy of success and creation. Being a great manager and leader enables that feeling of satisfaction. But how do you get there and stay in this state of commercial euphoria? Therein lies the challenge.

Every business needs a plan and the plan needs a leader to make sure it is delivered. Strong personalities drive businesses forward, but it is a combination of drive and control that produces results. As a great leader in the making, you should have that mental vision clear in your mind right now. Do you?

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