What has snowploughing got to do with successful leadership? Vishal Chhatralia, Vice President of Digital Marketing at RS Components, offers his thoughts.
‘Snowplough’. Not usually a word used to refer to a workplace leadership team, but in this instance it works. Right now you’re probably wondering: what does that mean? And also, how can I use it to benefit me?
Well, a snowplough leadership team is often created by an influential and thought-provoked leader who has both authority and experience to manage in the workplace, and clear the obstacles out of the way for their team to deliver their best work.
It’s very rare to stumble across a company that operates in an agile way and puts its workers at the forefront of their business. Companies should be capable of thriving and management should be prioritising this: people get stressed, work becomes a chore, occasionally things don’t get done to the best ability and road blockers are put in the way of success.
Why is this?
Leaders have the opportunity to help others thrive, give them the skills they need to do so and offer resources to propel their learnings.
But if management teams are practised in an incorrect and unprofessional way, the consequences and repercussions can have a domino effect on the entire business.
Micromanagement, passive-aggressive behaviour and bullying are just a few examples of management being within the wrong hands.
If you aren’t failing and learning from your failures, you’re merely stationary within your industry and shouldn’t expect to succeed.
It’s proven that four-fifths of employees have experienced poor management or have worked beneath a bad manager in their careers. With over 80% of employees working beneath poor management, there should be ways to create - and essentially snowplough - our way towards better management and successful results within businesses.
There are a handful of ways for business leaders within a corporation to act as snowploughs for their teams and support smart individuals who can operate by themselves to make informed decisions and make their workplace the best it can possibly be.
Hone in on your strengths and weaknesses
The first step of improvement is to identify your issues. Many managers sweep their failures under the rug too easily and don't learn from them.
As a leader within my team, I would guesstimate that 50% of my time is spent clearing the way for my team and allowing them to do what they are good at, to work to the best of their ability. Teams need support and resources in order to gain results.
If you aren’t failing and learning from your failures, you’re merely stationary within your industry and shouldn’t expect to succeed. As a senior leader, why not ask yourself what hasn’t gone to plan within the past six months and the key reasons why said “mess up” hasn’t gone so well - are you accountable for any of this? The answer is most likely, yes.
Your team look up to you as an influential professional who knows what they’re talking about so you need to make sure the skills you’re passing down are the best in practice.
Go back to basics. Ask yourself: ‘how do I communicate with my team?’, ‘what are my best attributes?’ and ‘do I support my team to the best of my ability?’.
Once you identify your own strengths and weaknesses, you will then be able to advise your team as to how you have worked on them and then create a strong, stable, independent pack, who - if and when they fall - you will be able to clear the way for.
Become the go-to thought leader
Managers need to be masters of their industry. Not only do they need experience, but they need anecdotes to refer to. Your team - whether they work below, alongside or even above you - need to know that you have the efficiency and competency to tackle everyday tasks and crises
Once you tackle a problem with confidence and take measured risks, your team can then follow suit. You need them to know that you have confidence in them and believe they can take risks that result in rewards.
Enabling individuals to trust you, prosper and work on their strengths is a great way to see overall success.
Transcribing your learnings and overall approach to work can often be difficult, so portray yourself how you believe they should portray themselves - snowplough the way so that they can get the best results possible.
Once you’ve advised, offer your trust
You’ve now snowploughed and cleared the path for your team to make informed choices and essentially put your learnings into practice. Now it’s time for them to trust their instinct and only come to you when it’s essential.
Integrity in management is partially the key to success. But enabling individuals to trust you, prosper and work on their strengths is a great way to see overall success.
You can best advise on what your strengths and expertise are in, so let your team know you trust their instincts and be there for them when they need a helping hand or an extra pair of eyes. Simply look to put in processes that make life easier for your team.
The following tips could come in handy and revamp your team’s approach to creating results and improving management:
Offer one-to-ones: It’s beneficial to sit down with your team and evaluate things that aren’t going so well. But be sure to praise your team and celebrate when necessary - give them the praise that they need to continue seeing results
Be open to suggestions: As much as you as a thought-leader can help your team, be open to their expertise too. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and you could learn simple hacks that will benefit your own approach to work
Give your team room to fail: Give your team the confidence they need to go-it-alone. Let them know that if and when they mess up, they won’t be left to their own devices to fix it
Snowploughing is a great managerial system to gain results. Nobody wants to look up to poor management and most employees within a variety of industries are good at their job and want to thrive, so be the help they need and provide the tools that are essential for them to prosper in their careers. Be the snowplough that clears the path for them.