NEW COURSE LAUNCHED: Human Resource Skills for People Managers with Wits Business School  View Course | WhatsApp

What is Project Management? Everything you need to know

project management guide

What is project management?

Project management involves overseeing the opening, planning, implementing, and closing stages of tasks done by a team with the intention of successfully completing specific goals in a specific time frame.

The project management process

Project management is centrally focused around achieving goals within a process. As a project manager, one needs to ensure that resources work together in cohesion to achieve the project’s goals, and that all team members involved perform their function flawlessly. The purpose of any project is directly linked to it achieving its goals successfully and efficiently.

Project management in 2020

Today, project management organisations have built upon the process that has been developed over time and has become more streamlined than ever before. The roles that people fill in modern times have become flexible and encompass a great range of tasks.

General project management is a skill required for people to stay on top of their work. To ensure you are making yourself the best you can be, take a short course, earn a project management certificate, gather new skills and stay relevant in a world that is constantly changing.

MasterStart has an array of exciting, time flexible online courses that will keep you up to date in today’s modern world while offering flexibility.

Project management in industry

Project management in construction

At the core of construction project management, there is planning, coordination and the execution of a construction project. The construction industry handles an assortment of various projects including agricultural, residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, heavy civil and environmental.

Project management in finance

The project manager in a financial project is responsible for making plans, leading and taking control of activities within finance-focused tasks, systems changes and technology improvements in the department of finance.

Project management in the insurance industry

As an insurance project manager, one is expected to collaborate with team members effectively to keep an eye over project scope, ultimately reducing scope creep.

Project management in healthcare and social assistance

Healthcare project managers are primarily concerned with lowering cost outputs. However, the biggest benefit of a healthcare project manager is the ability of the institution to be a step ahead of any potential risks.

Project management in science and technology

At the core of the scientific and technology world is the aim to improve life. Project management in these industries allows for greater control and execution of tasks. A project plan is implemented and executed accordingly on time and within the budget constraints, mitigating any potential risks in a project.

Project management in mining

As a mining project manager, one is required to ensure that the relevant project management phases are completed in a timely manner. Ensuring that the right people with the relevant qualifications and experience are on your site is critical as well as seeing that the mining equipment used on site is well maintained and upgraded constantly to achieve the best results in all the project phases.

Project management in retail

The retail market is highly competitive, within local, regional, national and international markets. This leaves the gate open to an assortment of potential challenges, so a project manager needs to be constantly up to date in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) project management industry.

Project management in education

Project management in education aims to promote the quality of learning to make it more interactive and enjoyable. Web based tools allow for real time communication and collaboration, enhancing learning experiences.

What to study if you want to change your career to become a project manager

If you are interested in a career change or if you would like to incorporate project management skills into your C.V, a project management course from MasterStart can help you achieve new heights effortlessly. Download the brochure here.

Technology in project management

The digital world has taken the pressure off emerging businesses for physical project managers. Now, business owners and startups can use project management software to run plans efficiently.

Online project management tools offer the user a variety of unique benefits. This includes the ability to plan projects on demand while keeping everyone in the loop, time management through constant communication and sticking to the company’s culture all while building the business. Useful online tools keep track of what’s ahead; effectively creating a space where project management can exist for non-project managers.

Project management in small to medium sized businesses

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are important to any economy, offering employment and fresh innovation. Project management is significant in enabling this input smoothly. Unlike larger corporations, SMEs require less administrative procedures of project management than those used by larger, traditional organizations.

Project management in large organisations

Project management is essential in big companies. Industries like construction and mining are the backbone of a country’s infrastructure and bring in a wide variety of investments.

The dedicated project manager in a large organisation will manage the entire company’s workforce effectively, to achieve the best project management life cycle.

Project management steps

Project managers require a very specific set of skills. They need to implement distinct project phases to help them achieve their goals. There are a few project management phases to consider which are essential for successful outcomes:
1. Set clear project expectation
2. Define clear goals in project phases
3. Communicate effectively
4. Plan around project risks

Project management careers

Starting out in project management can be challenging. If you are on the lookout for careers, there are numerous factors to consider. Entry level jobs require some sort of project management certificate to get your foot in the door.
Show potential employees’ dedication to your chosen field by undertaking a project management certificate. This will help you get started within project management coursework that could ultimately lead to a project management internship and then, steady project management jobs

Finding project management jobs

If you are really interested in learning project management, a short hands-on course could be just the boost you need to secure a project management internship. MasterStart in collaboration with the WITS Business School (WBS) have a Project Management online short course that provides participants with real workplace skills that can be implemented on the job almost immediately.

Are project management jobs right for me?

Specific skills are needed to ultimately excel in the workplace. If you are interested in project management jobs, see if your personality fits these ambitious characteristics:
· Detail-oriented
· Communicative
· A concise planner
· Efficient at delegation
· Natural leader

Project management salary summary

The industry is growing rapidly with many opportunities in this occupation, the expected project management salary is also becoming more attractive.
According to payscale, an employee that has undertaken short courses in project management can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

The industry is growing rapidly with many opportunities in this occupation, the expected project management salary is also becoming more attractive.

According to payscale, an employee that has undertaken short courses in project management can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

Occupational levelAverage annual income
Entry levelR159,950
Project manager professionalR400,000
Top-end manager professionalR767,740


Furthermore, bonus remuneration in the project management industry varies according to your experience and ranges from R4,862 – R101,030.

Project Management certification

The project management online short course offered by MasterStart in partnership with the WITS Business School (WBS) will provide course participants with the confidence and knowledge to create a successful, extensive project plan. The course will guide participants from the inception of project management phases all the way through to final execution of a given project.

MasterStart’s project management online short course aims to bridge the gap between a lack of practical working experience and project management theory. By embarking on this online short course you will obtain a problem solving mindset, where you will learn new and exciting skills from each module.

All skills acquired in this short course will help you build a solid portfolio that can count towards your professional designation as a project management professional.


Grow into a project management role in just a few short weeks, download the Project Management brochure.

The project management process

Costing in the project management process

Cost management in the project management process is estimating, allocating, and controlling the costs of a particular project. It allows a business to predict future expenses in order to reduce the chances of going over the project’s budget. Projected costs are calculated during the planning phase of a project and must be approved before work even begins. As the project plan is executed, expenses are documented and tracked so all costs stay within the budget.

Quoting in the project management process

As a project manager you would need to constantly interact with suppliers. A quotation is a supplier’s response to a customer’s request for goods or services. Once a quotation has been issued the supplier is legally bound to the price of the initial quotation for the time period that it is valid against.

Client management in projects

Client management in the project management process is about improving the project experience, simplifying the processes, exceeding expectations and reducing stress for the client. It focuses on creating powerful client relationships and puts the client first.

Communication in project management

Leadership and communication are key to the project management process. As a project manager, you need to have strong leadership and mentorship abilities, not only to help people accomplish project tasks but also to help them grow and learn practically.

Reviewing the project management process

Reviewing project tasks is also apart of briefing people. The project manager will review tasks and work on deadlines with the team accordingly. In the review process the project management phases start to take shape and the goals start to build towards the end result holistically.

Resourcing in the project management process

In the project management process, resources are required to complete the project life cycle. Project managers need to ensure that the correct resources are used appropriately, so as not to waste, keeping the project plan within the specified budget. Resources are machinery, workers, equipment, facilities and even financial capital. Resources ensure that the project management phases run smoothly and efficiently. Without resources the project would ultimately fail.

Time management

Time management is crucial as a project manager. You will need to organise and plan the time spent on tasks each day. Mastering the art of time management will boost your team’s effectiveness and productivity. The easiest way to achieve effective time management is through strategic planning in all the project management steps.

Efficiency and profitability in the project management process

The project management process is built on efficiency and profitability. These core values allow the project management lifecycle to play out as planned. A project management professional needs to achieve goals efficiently, utilising resources effectively in order to achieve maximum profitability.

A day in the life of a project manager

A project manager has a vast array of responsibilities and daily tasks that he or she must implement on demand daily. The daily project management process encompasses many activities including:
· Planning and Defining Scope
· Activity Planning and Sequencing
· Resource Planning
· Developing Schedules
· Time Estimating
· Cost Estimating
· Developing a Budget
· Documentation
· Creating Charts and Schedules
· Risk Analysis
· Managing Risks and Issues
· Monitoring and Reporting Progress
· Team Leadership
· Strategic Influencing
· Business Partnering
· Working with Vendors
· Scalability, Interoperability and Portability Analysis
· Controlling Quality
· Benefits Realisation

Tips for project managers

Tip 1: Successful project managers learn to observe their surroundings

Soak up your surroundings and analyse your team members, learn their strengths and weaknesses and apply each member to tasks accordingly. Successful project managers listen to what their team has to say and implements their suggestions accordingly. This will show cohesion and willingness for an adaptable project management style.

Tip 2: Work smart and solve problems

Planning is the biggest factor that allows project management professionals to mitigate risk. If you do your fair share of planning before the initial project phases, then you will be able to solve problems much more efficiently and mitigate potential threats.

Tip 3: Utilise tools effectively

Successful project managers stay a step ahead and look to optimise working platforms in any way possible, to make the project run more efficiently. Keep taking notes on what works and what doesn’t and stay on track of the project’s goals.

Tip 4: The customer is king

You need to learn what your customers want and how to give it to them. Successful project managers listen to their customers’ needs and adapt the project management strategy around that.

Tip 5: Successful project managers sharpen their skills

There are a variety of options available for a project management qualification, especially in today’s digital age. You can study a project management degree, opt for a project management online course or even a project management short course certificate. Your qualification or furthering your studies will show your employer that you are committed to a successful project manager’s mindset. Pursue your qualification with passion and you may soon find yourself a member of the Project Management Institute of South Africa (PMISA).

Tips from entrepreneurs for big business growth

business tips from entrepreneurs

As a startup company or an entrepreneur you can’t go into business blind. The following business tips from entrepreneurs will give you guidelines on how to run a successful small business. You need passion, an original product, motivation to excel and most of all, a desire to disrupt the current status quo of marketplace.

Business tips for Success

What makes a successful business? The answer will always lie within you. You need to embrace your strong points and excel in these areas. The top tips from entrepreneurs will always tell you to Mitigate weaknesses by filling the gaps with personal who are equipped to handle the stress points of your business.

Tips from entrepreneurs, find a niche and run with it

When asked, Lori Greiner said, “It’s a mix, right? Of smart marketing and ingenious product. For example, Scrub Daddy was a technology. So, taking that one sponge, which was revolutionary, changed the whole sponge arena. We now have, to date, 20 different SKUs, and we have 30,000 new retail locations and 170 million in sales. That’s what takes it from one idea to a global brand.”

These are the keys to business success. Tips from entrepreneurs can help you create the right product at the right time and implement it into the market in such a way that it changes the status quo, creating an outrageous demand for your goods or services.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel

Tips from entrepreneurs stress that time is invaluable and if you focus on creating new management systems and computer software for a successful business model then you are wasting time. There are plenty of online business tools that you can make use of to run your business efficiently. This will save you time and money in the long run and will be a key factor in how to run a successful small business.

Keep your business at the cutting edge of marketing

According to Bethenny Frankel’s tips for entrepreneurs, she stresses the keys to business success lies in your marketing approach. The new-age world has changed the face of marketing, we now rely on Social Media to promote our goods or services. Social media is a key aspect to reach a global audience instantly. These business tips for success will empower your personal growth and allow your product or service to flourish in a new dynamic marketing space.

Reach out to people with a community approach

If you want to follow in the footsteps of greatness you need to take in top tips from entrepreneurs. Building a brand requires effort and long hours of research and development. Be different and acquire an audience to build a community around your product.  

Daymond John stressed the value of building a community. “You’ve got to build a community,” stated John. “Nobody needs to buy anything new in this world. They only buy it because there’s some form of community and/or need that you are supplying for them.”

John knows what makes a successful business, he was one of the first pioneers to create and build a successful clothing empire. John managed to do this by investing in celebrity endorsements, these keys to business success afforded the product with instant recognition, which essentially sold the company’s products effortlessly. John used influencer marketing and it paid off in dividends.

Follow your heart and your passion

If you follow these tips from entrepreneurs, you could soon find yourself in the driver’s seat of a multi-million dollar corporation. Follow these tips from entrepreneurs to create a winning business recipe that is successful. Remember to bring in your own unique methodology as the world is constantly looking for something different, give that to them and they will love you for it. Keep checking back on our blog page for more business related tips and advice.

Advice for successful project managers

successful project managers

Successful project managers know how to be a jack of all trades, all the time. You need to develop strong business acumen, outstanding leadership/mentorship skills and a level head that can plan, control, execute and mitigate risk all at the same time, on a daily basis. If you are just starting out as a project management professional, these essential tips on successful project management will help you get the ball rolling for a fundamental grasp of project management basics.

Tip 1: Successful project mangers learn to Observe their surroundings

As a project manager you are going to be running a team and they are going to be constantly looking to you for guidance and mentorship. Soak up your surroundings and analyse your team members, learn their strengths and weaknesses and apply each member to tasks accordingly. Successful project managers listen to what their team has to say and implements their suggestions accordingly. This will show cohesion and willingness for an adaptable project management style.

Tip 2: Work Smart and Solve Problems

Successful project managers are apart of the solution rather than the problem. Planning is the biggest factor that allows project management professionals to mitigate risk. If you do your fair share of planning before the initial project phases, then you will be able to solve problems much more efficiently and mitigate potential threats.

Tip 3: Utilise Tools Effectively

Whether you’re a traditional pen and paper enthusiast or if you make use of project management software, as a project manager you need to know your working tools extensively. Online project management software brings team members together. Successful project managers stay a step ahead and look to optimise working platforms in any way possible, to make the project run more efficiently. Keep taking notes on what works and what doesn’t and stay on track of the projects goals.

Tip 4: The Customer is King

Your customers may be individuals or organisations as a project manager. You need to learn what your customers want and how to give it to them. Successful project managers listen to their customers needs and adapt the project management strategy around their wants. Once you learn to satisfy the needs of your customer while performing the project management steps you will grow rapidly within the industry.

Tip 5: Successful project managers get educated

There are a variety of options available for a project management qualification, especially in today’s digital age.  You can study a project management degree, opt for a project management online course or even a project management short course certificate. Your qualification or furthering your studies will show your employer that you are committed to a successful project mangers mindset. Pursue your qualification with passion and you may soon find yourself a member of the Project Management Institute of South Africa (PMISA).

9 ways to boost productivity that will make you a better teammate

boost productivity

Employee performance is the foundation your businesses success is based upon. It’s a tricky task to keep a large and small scale staff compliment happy at all times. A happy employee is a productive employee. We would all love to work from home and own our destinies, however, the nature of traditional businesses demand that employees be in the office at all times.

There are companies disrupting the status quo and challenging this outdated mentality. We live in a new age where modern technology has bridged the gap between vital communications within an organisation. Useful online tools like Skype or Slack can help your business communicate with companies in other countries in real time.

Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand challenged linear thought and started working outside of the box. By implementing a 4 day working week instead of a 5 day one, they successfully boosted employee productivity and alleviated stress levels.

Your organisation may not be there just yet, but we have uncovered some useful skills to keep you motivated and boost your productivity levels at work.

  • Keep track of your time consistently

One of the most valued assets on the entire planet is time. Time is money in the business world and if you can consistently keep track of your time, and manage it, you will become a greater asset to your organisation.

There are a few nifty tools to help you keep track of time. You can use something like Toggl or Nutcache. These tools can provide you with useful insights to show you where you have devoted your time to, on any specific project.

  • It’s okay to use do not disturb sometimes

We all love our sleep, however, we are also glued to our smartphone’s screen just about 24/7. All modern smartphones have a “DO NOT DISTURB” feature. Why not use it at work, flip it on and reduce the amount of outside interference in your day, giving you more time.

  • Take breaks

Nobody is a robot and you can’t keep going at the grind all day. Taking breaks keeps your brain sharp and motivated to keep working on a project. Allow for some down time with a cup of tea or a ten-minute walk.

  • Say no to pointless meetings

We are not suggesting that you go to your line manager and say “No Barry, I simply refuse to come to the Annual General Meeting today!” But you do need to decide what is relevant and what isn’t. If you feel you are involved in meetings that have no relevance towards you, then simply say you disagree to the meeting because it is ultimately a waste of time for you to be there.

Be up-front and respectful and you may just find that your manager respects you more for making a choice, which affords you with more time to do what you need to for your organization.

  • Ask for help if you need to

Everyone wants to impress their boss. It’s a natural reaction when you work hard. This can become challenging though, especially if you’ve bitten off a little more than you can handle. This will only make you feel overwhelmed. You have a team, use the team accordingly.

Allow each component within your team to work effectively, like a well-oiled machine. This will increase proficiency and productivity.

  • Stay focused on the essentials

Don’t overthink it. Stay focused on the essential requirements and then fill in the less important parts later. By getting the big stuff out of the way, you clear a path for your team to start perfecting the project.

  • If you have the opportunity to work remotely, take it

With the internet in nearly everyone’s home, it’s more than possible to take a breather from your desk, and work remotely for the day. This helps to refresh you and keeps your head focused for the future.  

  • Keep yourself and others around you optimistic

Don’t be the type of person to create a negative office environment. Rather stay optimistic. Even if you think that you may be buckling just a little bit, crack a joke here and there. ‘Fake it until you make it’, and keep the optimism going around the workplace.

  • Establish your most productive time, and work it  

If you are fortunate enough to get into work early, then you may notice that you get more work done without the distraction from the daily hustle and bustle. Capitalise on these hours and schedule your most important tasks for those times.  

With these nine helpful tips, you’re sure to become a more valuable employee. Keep checking back on our blog page for disruptive content that can change the way you do business.

5 ways to improve business efficiency

improve business effeciency

The lifeblood of any efficient company depends on the way the business is run, not just from a top level management perspective, but filtering through, all the way down to the baseline employees. The following suggestions to improve company operations will provide you with top tips to improve business efficiency in the workplace.

Your business deserves to run at 100% all day. It is up to upper level management to ensure it does so. If you are in quest of methods on how to improve business performance, you’re in luck, follow us as we tackle the best work efficiency tips.

1. Automate tasks to save time and improve business efficiency

There are numerous tedious tasks that can be fully automated, in any organisation. Something as simple as sending a receipt can be automated. The automation process adds to an overall efficient company in the long run, by providing employees with more time for critical thinking, therefore increasing productivity.

2. Encourage employees to chat face-to-face, rather than over communication tools

Challenge and disrupt the status quo. Nearly all large organisations rely too heavily on technology to stay up to date with their peers in the workplace. A face-to-face, hands on approach goes a long way to improving efficiency in the workplace.

Encouraging a face-to-face approach allows for employees to communicate more regularly, ultimately leading to better trust and therefore better communication. This hands on approach also allows for no mixed signals or crossed wires, adding to an efficient company policy.

3. Hold a daily 10 minute meeting

Daily meetings are a necessity and vital to efficient company dynamics, however, they can also drag on and on, leaving staff with less time in their day. Daily company meetings can be extremely useful, however, learn to keep them short, concise and effective.

Encourage efficient business practices for an overall efficient company, so that employees are constantly aware of what they need to do, and how exactly to do it. By holding daily meetings of around ten minutes long you can get everyone up to speed and going quickly. This process goes a long way to improving efficiency in the workplace.

4. Use task management software to keep track of productivity

Task management tools are helpful resources that help your organisation’s employees stay on top of critical projects and their objectives. Even though you may feel an email is sufficient, it is not always the best way to encourage staff to keep following the flow of a project. Task management software like Asana helps by improving efficiency in the workplace via its useful and friendly user interface, which allows everyone to collaborate on tasks in a single location.

5. Promote a company culture that allows for open communication

These work efficiency tips may seem repetitive, but learning how to improve business efficiency at work is interlinked to constant and stable communication within your organisation. You need to be promoting and endorsing a culture that not only allows for open communication amongst peers, but also amongst top level management.

It’s simple; everyone wants to be valued. A valued employee will be far more effective and play an invaluable role in your efficient company. Open the lines of communication and propel your company’s mission forward constantly. Do some team building, involve your employees in your company’s vision constantly. If you ready to take your career to the next level, download our Business Management course brochure.

Grow your skillset: become a master in delegation

While operations managers have a long list of important responsibilities necessary for the successful optimisation of business operations. There’s one crucial responsibility! That of delegating work and responsibilities appropriately between team members for effective operations management.

Therefore we’ve developed a set of useful tips and techniques you can apply immediately within your role as an operations manager. Get ready to learn useful tips and techniques across a variety of industries; beginning with operations management.

As we have mentioned in previous posts, a strong operations manager will quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals within their team, and will delegate levels of authority; or tasks, according to this measurement. This approach works because strengths are aligned to the responsibilities of a given role, or the tasks at hand, resulting in operations being more effective and efficient. It’s more likely that operations will be carried out successfully; tasks will be completed timeously, with less error and therefore at less cost if strengths are deployed.

The art of identifying strengths, and delegating skill-fully; comes with time, however, there are a few techniques managers use to assist them in this important function.

1. Identify strengths through collaboration

Team collaboration and communication is incredibly important – and thus extremely useful to you as the manager. Your team is made up of diverse individuals with diverse talents; therefore the only way to find out what these talents (and useful resources) are, is by encouraging your team to share their ideas; prompted by their skills, expertise and ultimately, strengths. The best way to get to the bottom of your team members’ strengths is by asking questions – questions such as ‘What do you think about…’ or ‘How would you handle this situation…?’, or perhaps ‘How would you delegate these tasks amongst yourselves?’. Most times the answers to your burning questions lay within your team, all it takes is effective communication to unlock them.

2. Provide clear instructions and expectations

Once you have identified the strengths within your team and have delegated accordingly, make sure you provide clear instructions; covering all the responsibilities associated with the role or task at hand, as well as what is expected of the individual or the team. Here again, communication plays a key role in the success of your delegating approach. The more transparent you are, the better the execution. It’s also important to remember that while you hand over the responsibility in a full capacity, you as the manager still need to offer support at times, and guide where necessary.

3. Evaluate progress

To validate your delegation decisions, it’s critical that you evaluate whether or not progress is being made. The main objective of delegating is to optimise business functions and processes; to improve operations and streamline practises. If this is not being achieved even after you have mapped out clear instructions and expectations then perhaps you need to consider alternative solutions. By keeping an eye on the results you’ll be able to swiftly develop an alternative approach. With this being said, it’s important to remember that progress takes time, and achieving great results is not an overnight development.

4. Get personal feedback

A great way to achieve effectiveness, efficiency and achieve operational success is through getting feedback from the very person/people involved in the day to day business operations management. Although operations are broken up into smaller tasks. Individuals or teams handling them directly will be able to spot weaknesses or inconsistencies in the chain. In fact, sometimes quicker than even you as the manager will. To create a culture of constant improvement, it’s important that you ‘get your hands dirty’; ask the right questions, find the areas of concern and make changes accordingly.

Delegation does not end with the allocation of tasks and responsibilities – it’s an operation that demands insight; through communication, support and evaluation.

Leadership styles: Four common types in business

what is leadership

Did you know there are four types of leadership styles? Often, a leader doesn’t just adopt one of these styles, but all four are present in their methods of management. And, did you know that their style changes based on a number of factors? That’s right; leaders are a little more calculated than one might expect, but it’s for the good of the team and the vision and that strategic approach ultimately part of the characteristics of a leader.

The four types of leadership styles:

  • Direct,
  • Coach,
  • Support, and
  • Delegate.

While these leadership styles may not mean much to you right now, they are certainly worthwhile considering when you enter into a leadership role.

These four styles of leadership determine the level of decision-making authority you, as the leader, give to individuals in your team. Each individual will be given different levels of ‘authority’ when it comes to decision making, and this is based on the nature of the task at hand, and the individuals role, experience and emotional maturity.

Take a look at the leadership framework below to wrap your head around these four styles, and their ‘level’ of support and direction:

Leadership style #1: Directing

True leadership skills are not required when one is telling another what to do; how to do it and when it needs to be done. This makes this style more of a management tool than a leadership tool.

The ‘directing’ style is useful when: one is working with freelancers or contractors for example. When work is outsourced; and you have a clear idea of what you need done; and what the outcomes should be, you would use a ‘telling’ style. In this case there needs to be a clear direction (in order to communicate what you want), however, there needn’t be a high level of support.

The ‘directing’ style would not be useful when managing a direct team, as it would hinder growth and prevent the development of an inspiring team culture.

Leadership style #2: Coaching 

Leaders are visionaries; they build a vision, and direct their team to achieve the vision. However, in order to successfully direct their team and accomplish the objective, they first need to sell their idea and vision to all those involved in bringing it to fruition. This is not only done to effectively communicate the objectives, but to also excite, motivate and get team members believing wholeheartedly in the endeavour.

The ‘selling’ style is useful when: you, as the leader, are introducing a ‘new’ or refined vision. Although the vision was not formed by the team members; you need their buy-in to ensure they’re motivated to perform, and achieve the end goal.
This style is best used when the team is made up of individual contributors that are full-time employees.

Leadership style #3: Supporting

Collaboration is about working together: sharing ideas, suggestions and solutions within a group; but having the final say, as the leader. This is a rather inspiring leadership approach, as each team member is considered, and feels they are contributing in the decision-making process. Because the style is low on direction (from the leader), it gives the individual space to prove themselves and lead the process; and because there’s a lot of support, they are not held directly accountable for the outcome, should it fail.

The ‘collaborative’ style is useful when: a task needs to be carried out but does not need the initial involvement of the leader until a decision needs to be made. For example: when one of your team members are hiring an employee – they have full control over the recruitment process (interviewing/screening etc), but you as the leader have the final say, based on their input, ideas or suggestions. The ‘collaborative’ leadership style is best used when leading a team of managers or directors; otherwise a team of individual contributors.

Leadership style #4: Delegating

‘Delegating’ is yet another leadership style best used when leading a team of senior leaders, directors or managers. Because there is little direction or support, the leader gives full authority to the individual or team to make the final decision.

The ‘delegating’ leadership style is useful when: you fully trust the decision-making abilities of the individual or group. This style is usually used by CEO’s, who fully trust the capabilities of their directors or managers, due to their experience and emotional maturity. The ‘delegating’ leadership style is hardly ever used in teams made up of junior or mid-level staff, unless the decision is incredibly low-risk.

Do you have these important leadership qualities?

important leadership qualities

Perhaps you’re interested in pursuing a career in leadership, or maybe you haven’t yet given it a thought. Either way, establishing whether or not you possess these critical leadership qualities may just validate your decision to enter into the field. It may only just spark a light bulb moment that a career in leadership may, in fact, be the correct path for you!

Great leaders are:

Confident

A great leader is confident. They believe in their abilities, as well as those of the team. Through their confident demeanour, they are able to win the trust of those around them because they never come across uncertain. It would be incredibly difficult to lead without confidence, which makes this a key characteristic in successful leaders. It’s believed that leaders who are confident have better relationships with those around them; are open to risk, are motivated, make better decisions and accept feedback.

Visionaries

A leader is coined a leader because they have a vision, and are able to lead those around them to fulfil and achieve this vision. It takes a special person to successfully put the pieces of the puzzle together in their mind’s eye, and recognise what needs to be done in order to accomplish their objective; as well as effectively communicate this with everyone around them. Visionaries see the bigger picture, they are able to dissect their idea and motivate themselves and others to achieve the main goal.

Risk-takers

Leaders are risk-takers – this is where confidence comes in, as well as the dire need to accomplish their vision. An individual who is risk-averse would find the role of leadership rather challenging as risks need to be taken repeatedly. This is what moves a team forward and what brings the vision to fruition.

Natural problem solvers

Leaders are born with natural problem-solving abilities. Perhaps strategic/high-level problem solving is learned, but there’s no denying that exceptional problem solvers are gifted with natural talent and skill. Leaders are faced with challenges constantly, however, they are able to quickly pinpoint areas of concern, and swiftly strive to solve them. They don’t harbour on problems, they instead shift their focus to the solution and seek to inspire those around them to do the same.

Emotionally intelligent

Emotional intelligence encompasses self-awareness, impulse control, stress tolerance, empathy and self-expression. These traits make leaders aware of their actions, and the reasons for making certain decisions. Through this awareness, emotionally intelligent leaders take action based on what is best for those around them, rather than being clouded by their own thoughts and feelings.

Transparent

Leaders value honesty from those around them, and they strive to always remain transparent and honest, themselves. They are committed to working ethically, and will always go the extra mile to do the right thing and ensure that all is fair. An individual who displays integrity in all that they do is an invaluable asset to any business, as there is never a risk that the individual will be dishonest or involve themselves in underhanded practices. Team members are also drawn to leaders whom they know are reliable and transparent, and ultimately have their best interests at heart.

Empathetic

Empathy is a critical quality of effective leaders. Empathetic leaders don’t think of what’s best for themselves or the business, for example; they consider the feelings, concerns or situations of each individual when making decisions, no matter their position in the team. This builds a strong, inspiring team culture which positively affects performance and productivity.

Have what it takes to be a great leader? Find out more about our Leadership online short course. Refine your skills and advance your career!

The ins and outs of leadership

leadership qualities

How does a leader look at the world, and why is it so important that leaders conduct themselves thoughtfully in business? Our own Dr Charl Coetzer, expert faculty member on the USB-ED leadership course immediately sprang to mind, and why not? Charl is an industrial psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and boasts more than 14 years’ experience in organisational development, human resources management, and leadership development. Charl is passionate about leadership development in Africa, so we knew we were talking to the right person to help inspire budding leaders in Africa.

We asked Charl a few questions in the hope of discovering some pearls of wisdom on the secrets behind effective leadership.

People have all sorts of ideas about what it means to lead. In your many years as a thought leader, coaching people to become effective communicators, employers and employees, what do you think it means to lead?

To lead others means to activate and empower others to achieve a compelling, higher purpose vision that creates value for multiple stakeholders (customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, broader society, and the environment). The first role of a leader is to set direction, in other words, to set a higher purpose vision (that goes beyond profit) to create meaningful value for multiple stakeholders. The second role of a leader is to serve and help others achieve that higher purpose vision. This means that they should activate individual talent and serve followers to accomplish the higher purpose vision.

We’ve probably all testify to the problems that arise when your leader is absent or neglectful. What do you think distinguishes a business with strong leadership from one lacking in leadership?

A business with an effective (servant) leader will show high-performance outcome and make a long-lasting positive impact on society. Such an organisation will show sustainable performance over the long term and will leave a positive legacy in society.

A business with an ineffective (self-serving) leader will focus mainly on making more profit and dominating the market to the detriment of customers, employees, suppliers, the society, and the environment. Such an organisation is not sustainable in the long term, as a business works much like an ecosystem. Society needs businesses to survive and business needs society to survive.  

Many people feel they were born to lead, while others believe they will never achieve the status of a leader. Are we born leaders? And if so, what does that mean for the rest of us that deeply aspire to become leaders?

New neuroscience studies have shown that any person can reform their brain to become more effective. This process is called ‘neuroplasticity’. It is, therefore, possible for anyone to learn the skills, habits, and behaviour to become a leader. However, I do believe that some people are born with the talent of leadership, which makes them more probable to become effective leaders.

Charl, you’ve dedicated your career to activating the leader in all of us. Can you tell us a little bit about what it is that fascinates you about the topic of leadership? And why is it that you study leadership?

The study of leadership is fascinating as each and every person is different. There is no one person on earth alike. Research has shown, similarly, that no one brain is alike. The neuropaths in each person’s brain is unique, therefore, their mind-frame and perspective towards life is unique. All of us also have different life experiences, situations, personalities, talents, values, and life purposes. Although we are different, we are also the same. Some natural leadership principles apply to all people, irrespective of any human complexity. It is thus important to study and learn these principles of leadership to lead people and organisations effectively. One needs to understand the natural laws of leadership to be successful in any leadership position.  

In light of your many years studying the subject, I have to ask, if you could condense your knowledge of leadership into a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Leadership starts with the heart. The main difference between an effective (servant) and ineffective (self-serving) leader is not technical ability, personality, talents, of intelligence. It is the leader’s heart. When leaders lead from a heart of pride or fear, they will apply their technical ability, personality, ability, and intelligence for selfish interests. However, when leaders lead from a heart of love, they will apply their technical ability, personality, ability, and intelligence to make a positive difference to the benefit of others. The most effective leaders lead from a loving and serving heart.   

You’ve already explained the difference between strong and poor leadership in a business, so tell us how exactly it is we can identify if a leader is misleading us? How do we know if our leader isn’t interested in our success?

By looking at the leader’s intent – the reason why he or she leads. In other words, when someone leads others to achieve a narrow, self-centred goal, then the leader is using others for self-interest. They will then most probably misuse people and misuse organisational resources. It is important to always evaluate a leader’s intent and focus.

It’s important to remember that no leader is perfect. We all make mistakes, but there is a bit more at stake for a leader who is responsible for a team of other people. What should a leader do if they make a mistake?

Apologise and ask for forgiveness. It takes courage, self-confidence, and humility to admit a mistake. It is then also important not to make that mistake again as it will break down trust in followers.   

A daily dose of news can be quite a shock. We are reminded of the immense problems facing society with little insight into the solutions. Africa is no stranger to criticism, so how might better leadership, generally speaking, make a difference in Africa?

Africa is in desperate need of good leadership. Fraud, corruption, poor economic conditions, unemployment, poverty, and dictatorship are all symptoms of poor leaders. Effective leadership will promote socio-economic development, improve economic stability, and create a quality life for all people living on the continent.  Effective leaders will empower people, build effective organisations, and create a humane society for all.

leadership tips