Softer Management Success

Many imagine the boss to be the one with an iron fist, and this mental picture dates back to the industrial age. This doesn’t always need to be what comes to your employees’ minds. There’s a lot to be said about the softer side of management. According to a recent article from Saad Al Barrak, former CEO of Zain and author of A Passion for Adventure: Turning Zain into a Telecom Giant, managing with a gentler touch can be just what your organization needs.

You might be wondering what the difference between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ means here:

The “hard” is the management that makes plans, sets up structures, and monitors performance. The “soft” is the people-friendly management based on emotions.

Let’s look at Apple. The company started out with a soft-management approach and as it grew, it became a hard-management giant. The problem with this, across all business fields, is that the focus is too narrow on the task at hand. In its essence, managers aren’t managing the task, they are leading your employees, who have feelings and passions. You cannot create a procedure plan for emotion, so teach your managers to lead with these unpredictable characteristics in mind.

Al Barrak managed a large, fast-growth company, and was successful not because he managed tasks and procedure planning, but because he spent more time listening to his employees. How was he successful in leading his workers and getting the job done?

The answer is that the best of plans and strategies are the ones extracted from the hearts and minds of your people, or inculcated in the hearts and minds of your people.

What’s the real benefit of yielding a lighter touch with your employees? It can actually improve your employees’ performance rates by leaps and bounds. Although it sounds wonderful to think that work could be a friend-zone, you cannot ignore that organizational goals have to be met. Structure and planning are necessary to be successful.

The ultimate goal for your managers is to balance the best of both strategies to attain the long-term organizational vision. Company culture and communication will supplement your strategies and procedures, they should all accentuate each other to achieve company goals.

So that’s best practice in the corporate world? What makes you win is uniqueness, not standardization.

There are many creative ways to influence your employees so that your organization and your workers come out on top. To read more about this management strategy, click here to read the full article.

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