Successful business, enabled through technology delivery, is a combination of a large amount of different factors of which smart people is a key ingredient. People make projects and business initiatives successful. People do the work. In technology, people define requirements, document the features, engineer the solution, write the code, develop the solution, build and configure the infrastructure, test the product, deploy the system into production and provide the technical after sales support services. It is people building the marketing collateral, following up on sales leads, completing proposal documents and presenting pitches. People work in teams doing the work as their job. At the head of every team is a leader who’s primary job should be the team.
Every single person, as an individual but also as a member of the team, has different needs. Fulfilling these needs is a large part of making people happy, effective and productive that results in successful work delivery.
The other part of success resides in the knowledge of and delivery capability in the different tasks that are executed within teams. These tasks can be grouped into distinct disciplines and every discipline has a key role to play in the team. Getting the team to work in synergy results in successes that defines the individual and the team. The ability to help people fulfill their needs, leads to successful work delivery and ultimately defines the successes of the leaders.
For a leader, knowing enough of each discipline within a successful team is essential – but what is enough knowledge when it comes to management?
In my view, enough is the knowledge and experience required to enable a manager to add value to each discipline, to facilitate decision-making and to align the ‘to do’ and ‘business as usual’ with the business vision, mission, objectives and strategy. This means being able to have a meaningful discussion with people, understanding, assisting and facilitating the resolution of their problems, ensuring people know what to do and why they are doing it without you having to tell them how to do it.
Smart people are hired because they are the experts in what they do. Your expertise as a manager should be management. If you have to tell people constantly how to do their jobs you have a serious problem – either you do not have the right people in the right roles that can be trusted to get the job done, and/or you do not have what it takes as a manager to get the best out of your staff…?
Smart people know how to do their jobs – why is a leader/manager needed then? People and teams require a leader to reinforce a purpose, to not just break down the tasks at hand into to-do’s but also to explain to them why it needs doing in the journey of accomplishing the purpose. Leaders are always there for their team during the execution of their role and support them in their actions, help them when the answer is not obvious. Understanding not just the disciplines but also each individual person within the team, will ensure the leader can facilitate individual needs fulfilment while keeping an eye on the teams deliverables to achieve the expected target.
Good leaders make decisions on the tough challenging questions and situations of which the answers and outcome are not obvious. They do this by using not only their own knowledge and experience but also the continuous input from the people in the team, applying the art of management. There is no right or wrong answer to these tough questions as every situation might be different – hence the art of management as it is not an exact science.
Want to be a success? For me it comes down to this fundamental point – People make or break a business. Smart people are a key ingredient to any successful business – no smart people, no business… People come first!
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Originally Published on 12 July 2013