Leading management


Managers need leadership and leaders need management in an indivisible, mutual partnership. But the number one rule regarding leadership and management is that the key to success lies in choice. The choice of an employer or an activity which is not the most suitable for your innate or acquired talents will lead to relative or absolute failure.

That's also true for all those unfortunates who work under your leadership – that's where leadership and management are joined. Both are reliant on the ability to persuade others to use their own talents and expertise to achieve the goals of the business.

Leader/managers can find human relations very difficult to manage because of their personality. The ability to relate to others, from close colleagues to the most unfamiliar new employee, is fundamental to effective leadership.

Yet I've dealt with leaders who fall short on the most basic human tests; one individual even confided in me that he didn't know how to say thank you. But he was still very successful.

If he had been better at communicating and more effective at man management, though, he could have been even more successful.

A good leader should be more critical of his or her performance than anyone else. Ask yourself the following eight questions:

  • Leadership: Am I an effective leader and do I enable others to lead just as effectively in their areas?
  • Challenge: Do I check myself continuously, as well as my colleagues and the organisation, in order to identify and exploit areas that could be significantly improved?
  • Decisiveness: Do I identify issues quickly and resolve them as fast as I can and with due diligence?
  • Actions: Do I act on decisions and give feedback without delay?
  • Communication: Is everyone aware of what I'm doing and do they know why I'm doing it - and can I say the same about them?
  • Change: Has a climate been created where everybody welcomes change and knows how to implement it?
  • Basics: Have the key success factors been identified and am I sure that they are working well?
  • Objectives: Do we have high and potentially rewarding ambitions to work towards?

Always remember that nothing stands still. Positive change can be effected by the revision of strategy and tactics. On the other side of that, neglect leads to disastrous performance – bad management, bad leadership - it hardly matters what you call it.

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About The Author

Robert Heller
Robert Heller

Robert Heller, who died aged 80 in August 2012, was Britain's most renowned and best-selling author on business management. Author of more than 50 books, he was the founding editor of Management Today and the Global Future Forum. About his latest title, The Fusion Manager, Sir John Harvey-Jones wrote: "The future lies with the thinking manager, and the thinking manager must read this book".

Older Comments

The questions I find most valuable consist of a test.

This is a simple test of 10 questions. Rank yourself (or a manager) on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best or almost always, 1 being the worst or almost never. Add up the points for each question.

If you score close to 100, I would expect that your employees will be over 3 times more productive than if your score was 30 or less. In addition, employees will unleash their full potential creativity and innovation, love to come to work and have very high morale. :)


-provide regular and frequent opportunities for employees to voice complaints, suggestions and questions, provide reasonable and timely responses, and give employees what they say they need to do a better job? (At least weekly?)

-elicit answers/responses from the team and get them to use their brainpower to solve problems?

-listen to employees with 100% attention without distraction, without trying to figure out a response and with the use of follow-up questions to obtain missing details and suggested fixes?

-refrain from giving orders since by their nature they demeaning and disrespectful and destroy innovation and commitment?

-treat members better in terms of humility, respect, timely and high quality responses, forthrightness, trust, admission of error, etc than they are expected to treat customers and each other?

-publicly recognize employees for their contributions and high performance and never take credit him/herself?

-openly provide all company info to employees to the extent they need/desire?

-use values and high standards of them in order to explain why certain actions are better than others?

-use smiles and good humor with subordinates, not frowns or a blank face?

-generate in employees a sense of ownership?

Best regards, Ben Simonton Author 'Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed'

Ben Simonton