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Participatory Management Skills That Define Todays Strong Leaders

As an entry-level manager, I made an all-out effort to learn whatever I needed to know to be a successful manager. In the beginning, I concentrated on learning the basics, which every manager knows involves the intricacies of planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. Of course, these functions are important to operate any business effectively. But I learned over a forty-four year management career that the most misunderstood aspect of management, yet ust as important and much harder to grasp, is leadership. !hat"s because for years leadership has been associated with that part of the management process involved in directing and controlling. In those early days, my superiors referred to those who lead with an iron fist as strong managers. And so my career began with an understanding that I needed to be an autocratic manager to be successful. But over the years that changed. #articipatory styles of management became the new paradigm. $anagement that encouraged and empowered employees to make recommendations and participate in decision-making became the norm. #art of the reason for this change was that the profession finally realized that they did not have all the answers. !hey finally realized that their employees were one of the most important assets they have. !oday"s managers need to not only be good at the technical side of management but also need to be good motivational leaders. !hey need to have a working understanding of other management styles because effective leaders employ different styles as circumstances dictate. %or e&ample, when there are no alternatives, when immediate decisions are imperative, a manager may need to employ an autocratic style. In order to be an effective manager re'uires being out of the office every day, interacting with all members of the team (today, the popular new term is associates). $anagement re'uires an awareness that you cannot lead without everyone in the organization working together as a team* therefore, managers must possess skills at motivating, coaching, cheerleading, and building a team spirit. +o it"s imperative that managers be good listeners, skilled at receiving as well as giving constructive feedback. ,ffective managers do not resent challenges to their authority and

are able to work with people who may disagree with them. !hey have the ability to recognize unofficial leaders in their team and work through them in order to meet corporate and operational ob ectives, empowering them to work on their behalf. In today"s world, managers who possess these skills generally have successful operations. -nlike the days of the .it"s my way or the highway/ autocrat, participatory management skills now are what define managers as effective and strong leaders.