The most crucial component of a business success is bringing the right people on board. This is particularly true when hiring executives and managers. They set the tone for the whole company right down to the lowest-level employees, whose supervisors tend to mirror the managers and executives. If managers are nitpicky and controlling, so are supervisors. If managers are hands-off and allow a lot of autonomy, so do the supervisors. Similarly, managers also tend to mirror executives. Therefore, companies must take care to recruit executives who will create a good atmosphere.
The Struggles of Supervisors
Supervisors have direct control over a small group of coworkers, but they seldom define their team’s objectives. This puts them in a unique and sometimes difficult position. They often feel somewhat powerless because they are held accountable to a vision defined by others and for actions that are largely other people’s decisions. This naturally leads them to try to control the situation in other ways to make up for what they can’t control. In short, supervisors have strong incentives to micromanage.
The theory behind micromanaging is that the supervisor can present a ‘perfect’ product to managers that fits their vision and makes the team look good. To make this a reality, supervisors often command by directive, encourage groupthink, and stifle questions. This approach is often counterproductive because it tends to lower both morale and work quality. While supervisors can certainly employ more effective tactics on their own, they are far more likely to use better leadership strategies if managers and executives also demonstrate those strategies.
The Example of Executives
When executives are visible to their employees and show leadership, everyone follows their lead. They can either lead by setting a broad vision or by specifying exactly what they want everyone in the company to do. This latter approach usually gives an executive too much to do to be efficient. The other approach—setting a vision—is less hands-on but often leads to better productivity and greater focus on the long term. It encourages employees to think outside their boxes and look at the company’s progress objectively.
When executives set an example of looking forward and growing the company, the managers and supervisors under them will respond. They will encourage their employees to focus on that vision and how they can further it. Everyone will focus on action instead of procedure, which will lead to more effective operations. A well-defined vision gives everyone something to work for. Therefore, recruiting an executive who has a solid vision and knows how to develop a strategic plan is critical to a company’s success.
The Middle Managers
Between the executives and front-line supervisors, there may be layers of managers. Their chief challenge is to keep the interests of employees they seldom interact with in mind while bringing company goals to fruition. They must work directly with immediate supervisors to know what demands are reasonable. At the same time, they recognize that any good company goal stretches anyone, so they must know how to stretch supervisors and their teams to accomplish more. Like executives, middle managers must know how to strategize and motivate. They are often recruited from inside the company, but they should be held to the same scrutiny as hiring an executive.
The Characteristics of Good Leaders
Executives, managers, and supervisors all need to show good leadership qualities. They must:
- Know how to set a demanding but achievable vision and promote it to their employees
- Communicate with superiors and subordinates to keep work efficient and productive
- Balance between hands-on management and autonomy
- Listen to ideas from front-line personnel who are closed to the work and/or customers
To be successful as a company, you need to partner with human resources experts who know how to recruit good executives. Such HR experts will be equally good at finding top-quality managers and supervisors. They can help set you up for success by bringing the right people on board.
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