The trouble with leading people is people.
They are cruelly unresponsive and lazily off time. They see dependence as teamwork and remain fiercely uncommunicative throughout. They fail to interact when we need them to exchange knowledge, yet they are hopelessly engaged in conversation regarding HBO, the Ashes and Friday night exploits.
But the Ashes were great, weren’t they?
Either way, it can be challenging managing a team. But what’s at the heart of the difficulty that leaders so commonly encounter? Chasing?
There’s a lot of chasing being a leader. Monday mornings routinely require chasing of some kind, making sure that work plans are in place and aligned. Then there’s the chasing of individuals, checking that they understand (not exactly), checking that they’re on course to complete on time (not yet), checking to make sure procedures are being respected (not so far). That’s a great deal of chasing – of sentient human beings that get paid.
But it’s not just chasing.
Studies have shown that up to 50% of an office worker’s paid time may be used trying to locate information that is already held within the walls of the same company, that someone else already has their hands on. Now, even if you don’t believe that particular statistic (50% – can it be true??), if the truth is just half of that, it’s still far, far too much. Streamlining, optimising and smoothing channels; uniting, focusing and pointing ahead. Is this at the crux of what leaders do?
If not, it should be, and if so, we should consider ways of doing it better: platforms for project management
The software is out there. The right platforms help bring teams together, help keep people communicating – and help leaders lead. Assigning tasks, targets and milestones is intuitive and highly visible, while tracking project progression is made simple, with downloadable reports for analysis. With shared calendars, threaded discussions and centralised, version-controlled documents, a quick overview of progress is accessible to all members of the team, helping make individuals accountable and responsible.
The structure, the process, the nuts and bolts of progress, are now all available to team leaders in high-quality, user-friendly cloud-based technologies, giving leaders the tools and time they need to do what they’re really good at: strategic planning, creating the right conditions for innovation, extracting gold from potential.
Teams are getting fuel injected, organisations are raising their expectations, and leaders are changing business.