Page 2: The role of a team leader
The role of a manager
A team leader/manager’s job is to get things done by using all resources available to them. One of the first and most famous management theorists was Henri Fayol. Based on observation and experience, he proposed that there were five main functions of management.
Fayol’s work illustrated a good system to help managers to work effectively. For instance, a scenario might be that a team is given an objective to find a way of reducing waste. Fayol’s five functions can be applied to this waste reduction scenario to illustrate the importance of each function.
- Planning involves setting goals for future performance. For instance, achieving a 5% reduction in waste over the next two years. This will involve deciding what equipment, training and staff involvement will be needed to achieve this goal.
- Organising involves assigning tasks to different departments or individuals to achieve the goal.
- Commanding involves giving instructions to subordinates to carry out tasks. Such leadership is vital and CMI is committed to developing manager’s skills in this area.
- Co-ordinating involves bringing all departments together to achieve the goals. Achieving waste reduction will involve the operations team improving practices whilst the HR team will decide what training may be needed. The finance team will work out budgets available to finance any changes.
- The final key function is controlling. Managers need to monitor progress against the goals, in this case reducing waste, and take appropriate corrective action as and when it is required.
As they manage their team, team leaders need to consider the most suitable management style to use. For example, an autocratic manager would like to retain control. Without consulting others, they would tell subordinates what to do. This is particularly appropriate when decisions need to be made quickly, for instance, in a recession when delays could lead to a business closing.
In contrast, a democratic manager would encourage participation by employees. Shared information would allow the team to influence decision making. This is particularly appropriate when there is a highly skilled workforce or when new developments are being considered. However, this style can be time-consuming and so would not be the best option when decisions are needed quickly.
To manage teams organisations require effective managers. Highly skilled and trained managers can make more informed decisions. The use of best practice models enables managers to ensure their teams operate efficiently. This will improve quality for customers as staff will be better trained to deal with customers’ needs. It will also improve team effectiveness and help organisations to perform better.
Within the next 10 years, the UK will need to fill nearly one million management and leadership roles and to do this young people will require very special management and leadership skills. It is therefore vital that CMI continues to support young people (and the UK’s future managers) by helping and inspiring them to become great managers and leaders of the future and to also provide them with recognition for these skills.