For some, it can be difficult and rather intimidating to manage employees, projects and money, among other things, in business. There is no singular way to manage within a company and there is no specific attitude or personality that all successful leaders encompass.
So how does someone know if they are doing a good job as a leader? To find the answer, I turned to Peter Drucker. In his lifetime and even after his death in 2005, Drucker’s ideas on management made him the most well-known and prominent management consultant, educator and author. In fact, Businessweek once called Drucker “the man who invented management.”
Although Drucker’s ideas and principles are endless, he compiled eight practices he saw in successful, effective leaders. These eight practices are a simple place for industry CEOs, vending operators and general managers to start becoming effective leaders:
Ask, “What needs to be done?”
- Drucker recommends finding one task that needs to be done within the company right now. That will be the most important task. Arrange all of your tasks into priorities. When you’re done with a task, rearrange and re-create the priorities of your other tasks. Only work on one task at a time.
Ask, “What is right for the enterprise?”
- Ask what’s right for the company, not for the shareholders, the employees or the owners. Because ultimately if it’s not right for the company, then it certainly won’t be right for anything else within the company. As many vending companies are family-owned, this is an important practice, according to Drucker. “In the successful family company, a relative is promoted only if he or she is measurably superior to all nonrelatives on the same level,” he wrote.
Develop action plans.
- Rather than a commitment, an action plan is a statement of intentions. This will be the basis for management. Action plans should include desired results, probable restraints, future revisions and check-in points, as well as how a leader spends his or her time.
Take responsibility for decisions.
- According to Drucker, a decision has not been made until people know the name of the person accountable for carrying out the decision, the deadline, the names of the people affected by the decision and the names of people who have to be informed of the decision, even if they aren’t affected by it.
Take responsibility for communicating.
- Share plans and ask for comments from people within different facets of your organization—superiors, subordinates and peers. Good leaders ask for only specific information they need to get the job done and push until they can get it.
Are focused on opportunities rather than problems.
- “Problem solving, however necessary, does not produce results. It prevents damage. Exploiting opportunities produces results,” said Drucker. He goes on to say that effective executives believe change is an opportunity, not a threat. In a list of a management report, it is wiser to discuss opportunities first, problems second.
Run productive meetings.
- Before a meeting happens, it should be determined what type of meeting it will be. When the type of meeting is determined, nothing but the subject of the meeting should be discussed. According to Drucker, it is important for executives to terminate meetings as soon as a specific purpose has been accomplished, rather than bringing up another matter to discuss. Just as important is the meeting follow-up.
Think and say “we” rather than “I.”
- Effective leaders put the needs of the organization before their own. They are the ultimate authority within the company and have the trust of employees, owners and shareholders.