It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of checking off tasks and moving projects along–it’s a big part of almost any job! But great leaders approach things differently, looking at their jobs as opportunities to truly help an organization from the inside out, and going above and beyond their job descriptions to implement creative new processes. When leader’s don’t implement a truly creative and custom approach to their work, they can be subject to external forces that may or may not be truly helpful.
One such force is the management consultancy. When things have gone stale in one area or another, organizations will often hire (very expensive) outside management consultants to come into a business, asses the state of the organization, and use their fresh perspective to affect serious change in company structure and operations. If you are a leader, these consultants can represent a double-edged sword.
One the one hand, you may appreciate having the outside, objective input. On the other hand, the consultants may make recommendations that you truly feel are detrimental, including moving around (or getting rid of) personnel, changing internal communications strategies, and potentially wasting time on exercises or team activities that do little to actually improve operations. On top of that, you may feel that the large fee these consultancies often charge would be better put towards an increase in you and your colleagues’ salaries.
So what’s a leader to do?
Let’s start from the beginning–as in, the beginning of your leadership role. How are you approaching your position?
Here’s a suggestion: you be the consultant from early on, and your organization will have little need to hire one (or if they do, it will be a strategic decision that you are 100% in line with!).
Let’s start from square one–what do we mean by consulting? According to consulting.com, “The true meaning of consulting is helping people solve problems and move from their current state to their desired state.”
Bingo. Your job is to solve problems and to anticipate them before they become a hot-button issue.
Use your creativity, passion, and expertise to stay on top of these 3 areas of your business from day one, and YOU’LL be the go-to for organizational change.
1. Create strong organizational structure and hierarchy
The word “hierarchy” makes many leaders nervous–we don’t, of course, want to be top-down, tyrannical leaders, but rather want people at all levels of the organization to feel valued and heard. Of course. But the truth is, people really need structure–it needs to be absolutely clear how and who to go to in different situations. As a leader, if you manage that aspect of your company, you will already be ahead of the game.
2. Set the stage for proper time management
Many leaders think that proper time management means tracking employees every move and maximizing every minute. This is not proper time management; this is micromanagement. You should be hiring employees that you trust to get the job done, and you will see that when you create a passionate and engaged environment, employees are more eager to excel at their projects and to really own the results.
3. Make your culture crystal clear
“Company culture”–you may feel that these are just buzzwords being thrown around for 20-somethings with dogs in their offices, but they are not. Corporate culture is a system by which you clearly define your organizational values, hire in accordance with those values, and are willing to make real sacrifices to adhere to those values. When your employees are aligned with your culture, their work will be more effective, and the overall work environment will be more pleasant.
Of course, there are always outside forces working against you as a leader. But when you approach your position strategically, creatively, and with strength, you are much more likely to be one of the exceptional leaders that makes a real difference in your organization and your employees lives.