In the previous article we examined how the behaviour of a ‘traditional’ manager limited the performance of his team as well as the performance of the business.

When the manager was 65, they decided to retire and a new person took on his role.  However, this person did not have the detailed technical knowledge of his predecessor.  He was not from the printing trade and he knew that he did not have the skills and experience to tell his managers ‘what to do’. However, he did understand about how to lead people effectively and recognised poor morale, team work, performance and lack of personal responsibility among many of the team he had inherited.

He therefore decided to take a new and different approach from the previous manage, and did a number of things.  He:

  • Set clear expectations with each manager regarding their performance and behaviour.
  • Got ‘out of their way’ and allowed them to get on with their job without undue interference.
  • Invested in a development programme to enable them to improve their own leadership and coaching skills.
  • Supported and coached each individual manager to take greater responsibility.
  • Took action with anyone who either did not want to or could not meet the expectations set.

Over a period of 12 months, there was a massive change in the team and their performance.

As individuals they understood what was expected of them and grew in confidence as a result.  They took on greater levels of responsibility and gained more job satisfaction.

The manager was able to spend time on the Important (but Not Urgent) activities such as setting out a new strategy for the factory, planning for investment, reorganisation of factory operations.

All of this concluded with a dramatic improvement in the operational performance of the factory – lead times were reduced by 75%, stock levels were reduced by over 50%, productivity increased by 25% with a corresponding reduction in cost per unit.  All of which meant that the factory was more competitive and successful.