Using Systems in Leadership

Knowing how your organisation works is an important aspect of leadership. So is knowing what doesn’t work. That’s how you turn things around and get them back on track. An important aspect of a strategic plan is the understanding of tasks that need to be implemented and the role they play in achieving your goals.

The most effective way of making sure those tasks are in place to utilised as needed is to have strong systems and procedures in place.

Delegation is one of the most important aspects of leadership. An effective leader knows how to delegate well. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Rather than just handing tasks to staff members, good delegation involves a clear understanding of each employee, including their strengths, weaknesses and their ability to manage the task you are assigning them. With strong systems in place this is made so much easier, duties can be matched to the skill set of the right staff member.

I cannot stress enough the importance of systems when it comes to running a business or leading a team. If something is worth doing twice, it is worth having a system and procedure in place. It will remove a great deal of stress and make everybody’s life easier.

When new employees start a job it can be overwhelming trying to learn just how things work. How smoothly they adjust may well be a reflection of the strength of your systems, or of course the absence of them.

It is the same with training. Clear systems, processes and procedures that can easily be followed will make a significant contribution. Delivering training can be challenging without systems and procedures, they give consistent points of reference for both trainer and trainee. These same procedures can be used for temporary staff covering for absenteeism. The momentum of your business can easily be maintained no matter who is covering the task.

Leadership without strong systems is challenging to say the least. Overwhelm and a feeling of constant crisis management is so much more likely. Sadly, I see this all too often with leaders I have worked with.

Establishing systems can consume both time and resources, but the return on your investment will be so worth the effort. Those systems will free up your time to actually lead rather than manage.

In my own business we have very strong systems. We also print those procedures and keep them in an ever growing manual that is easily accessible by all. Not only is this manual valuable to staff members carrying out tasks, it is also a useful leadership tool. Knowing exactly what is involved in each task makes strategic planning so much easier.

This manual is constantly updated and upgraded to include improvement and new tasks. Our staff know to go to it if they are ever unsure of something or if they would like to learn a new skill. It has certainly contributed to a positive workplace environment, the team are growing and developing their skills. Ultimately, that is what good leaders do, they develop the skills of others. Strong systems makes it so much easier for all concerned.

Quick tip: When setting up your procedures folder, make sure you add a contents page for easy reference.


Alison Vidotto is the award winning author of 22 Leadership Fundamentals; the Door to Success says Push! A leadership keynote speaker and trainer, CEO of Vidotto Group and Founder of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam ( Alison has a passion for leadership and development, both within herself and in others. She writes leadership articles for the Australian Business Women's Network ( Alison has also been published in the...

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