Six main leadership zones

Although daily activities of managers are often chaotic and unstructured, they can be distilled into two broad categories: making decisions and interpersonal communications. These two main categories determine supporting actions needed for effective leadership: leaders need to make the best possible decision and then persuade others to implement it. These categories can be divided into six main competencies group or leadership zones. Decision making can be divided into:

  • personal effectiveness and self-management,
  • achieving results,
  • using resources.

Interpersonal communications can be divided into the following leadership zones.

  • working with people,
  • providing direction,
  • facilitating change.

Six leadership zones are interconnected and interdependent on all managerial levels.

Managing self

Managing others starts with managing self. Self-management begins with reflection on own actions and achievements. Then, one can use tools of self-analysis to increase personal effectiveness. Professional goals are only achievable in wider context of personal goals and managers should understand their own motives, values and drivers before they start to manage others. In other words, prioritizing own life goals and priorities lays the foundation for a successful managerial career.

Achieving results

When individual contributors become managers, they should change their mindset and focus. Individual achievements become less important than performance of their direct reports and company as whole. New managers soon understand that they are evaluated by how their team is working towards previously set goals and that their most critical area of responsibility.

Using resources

It is important to achieve goals, but as in every organization resources are limited it is also important to use these resources effectively. Managers should understand how to take effective decisions when managing all kinds of resources. Managers are also responsible for budgets for defined area or activity of work. They should be able to prepare, submit and get approval for short-term budgets as well as for long-term investment project plans.

Working with people

To achieve set objectives with limited resources managers should develop working relationships within their own organization. Even most talented people can’t work alone. Managers find, recruit and organize people with required set of skills and attitude to achieve business goals. Teamwork requires developed communication skills. Managers also should be able to manage conflict, support their team members in decision-making process and help them increase effectiveness.

Providing direction

Managers perform wide variety of tasks. Their work flow doesn’t follow an orderly and systematic progression through the working day. Often managers feel they are bombarded by e-mails, calls and people wanting to see them. They must take quick decisions under intense pressure. However, managers also should find time to have "helicopter view" on what is happening around their area of responsibility, consider new opportunities and risks. Uncertainty often brings new insights and vision to follow.

Facilitating change

In today’s environment, change is necessary for every organization. Often managing change is managing people’s fear – something unpredictable and irrational. Managers should address the resistance to change – by maintaining clear channels of communication with employees. Change also comes in the form of innovation, and managers should encourage and support the identification and practical implementation of ideas. The initial ideas often come from members of the team and focus on new products and services, improvements to existing products and services and improvements to existing practices, procedures and ways of working.

All learning material in SNAPSIM™ system is divided into six groups of managerial competencies described in this article. SNAPSIM™ matrix of managerial competencies is based on the UK’s National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Management and Leadership. NOS approach is to group 74 competencies into four managerial levels and six managerial zones. Similar competency framework is used qualifications offered by Chartered Management Institute (UK).