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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).

What does a business manager do daily?

what business managers do

What does a business manager do in an organisation daily? Essentially a business managers job description is to oversee the company’s productivity. He or she will manage all the processes and staff to ensure that the organisation runs at optimal capacity. Business manager skills are important because they keep employees actively involved in all aspects of the business. From small businesses to large organisations, all companies require the skills of a professional business manager.

The role of a business manager in various sized organisations

When you think about it, what does a business manager do in various sized organisations? A business managers job description can vary from company to company, especially when you consider the size of the organisation. The role of the individual will also affect a business managers salary range.

What does a business manager do in small businesses?

In small companies a business managers skills will be applied to overall operations. A small company may even subdivide the work, where the business managers job description is to run operations and the office manager will deal with all clerical concerns and oversee the staff compliment.

What does a business manager do in large organisations?

What does a business manager do differently in large organisations as opposed to small businesses? Bigger companies require more targeted business manager skills. Large organisations will make use of a business manager to oversee specific departments such as marketing, sales or even production. This targeted approach makes use of specific business management skills to optimise individual departments in large organisations for maximum productivity.

What does a business manager do, the tasks, duties and responsibilities

Business managers are responsible for overseeing the activities of workers, from hiring, training and even evaluating the performance of new employees. The business managers job description is never set in stone, as the company grows and changes the responsibilities may change dynamically to suit the expanding needs of the organisation. Most importantly, a business managers job description is to ensure that a company or specific department is on track to meet its financial goals and expected growth.

Aside from managing staff and running operations efficiently a business managers job description may also include other activities. These include developing and implementing budgets, preparing reports for senior management and ensuring that each department complies with official company policy. A business managers skills also need to be devoted to the company holistically. This means that they can’t just expect people to work without the necessary resources, it’s part of the business managers role to ensure that the staff have the necessary resources to maintain a high standard of work at all times.

Considering a career in business management?

If you’ve been pondering what does a business manager do in a company daily, then you have more than likely considered a career in business management. As a business manager you need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills to direct employees and lead departments.

The majority of employers require a business management qualification

You can opt for a formal business management degree, or if you would like essential skills to start you off consider a business management short course to break into the workplace. MasterStart has a multi faceted Business Management and Leadership online short course that will provide you with practical working skills, which you can implement in the workplace almost immediately.

If you want it, grab it

If you are a natural born problem solver that loves leading teams and accomplishing goals then business management may be the perfect career for you. Keep checking back on our blog page for more insights into business management courses, careers and skills.

Intuitive people do things differently, find out what

intuitive people

The Dictionary defines intuition as: the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning./A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning. Intuitive people understand this process more naturally than those people with less intuition. 

It was Steve Jobs that said:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

People tend to believe we are born and whatever we become has been a planned series of events leading up to a grand life, well lived. The scientific community argue this point down and stress that you are in control of the major decisions in your life. There is a slight problem with this conception though, the scientific community can’t quite say why certain people are blessed with a better ‘gut feeling’, otherwise known as intuition over others who don’t possess as much of the skill.

Life is like a paint by numbers kit, paint it

We tend to foster our own path in life like a paint by numbers kit. We pick the colours from our choices and live with the creation of our consequences. Humans love living in the moment and when we reflect, we get a grander sense of what this life is all for. We start challenging convention and start to ponder the differences between intuition vs intellect and all the primitive brain can do is greet you with a maze of unanswered questions.

Research suggests that certain people are instinctively more intuitive than others. Whether it be in a game of chance or buying a car, your intuition plays a role in the final outcome. If you have ever been in a state of mindfulness, pondering about this very topic, then you may be surprised to learn that there are certain things that deeply intuitive people do differently to your average Joe’s. Keep reading to see what highly intuitive people are doing to hone their lives and live within an analytical mind, creating a natural system of checks and balances that advances their critical thinking skills daily.

Intuitive people listen out for their inner voice

Before you can even conceive the notion of intuition you need to be able to recognise it. Intuition is not as clear as body language or tone of voice. It’s a deep seeded awareness that makes your gut feeling sway towards positive or negative associations. This takes some time, especially in today’s fast paced life where we rush to do absolutely everything. You need to stop, steer and observe in order to hear your inner voice. Let it shine through and guide you towards your desired goals.

You’ve heard it, now follow it

Don’t think you have what it takes? One of the most common reasons why some people are more intuitive than others is because they actually listen to themselves instead of being driven by ideology. This is not to say that one should completely ignore the analytical mind, or critical thinking skills. Rather embrace intuition and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Listen out for your inner voice and then follow it rationally with instinct and confidence.

Practice empathic accuracy for better intuition

You might just roll over into your grave if we told you that deeply intuitive people can read your mind. Even though this is not the case, intuition is like a reading that can be deduced from certain cues that people give off without even knowing it. Empathic accuracy is the fancy scientific way of saying that you can ascertain certain knowledge from people simply by analysing their body language or tone of voice. Intuitive people are gathering data all the time listening, observing and reading people for a holistic overview on how to approach a situation dynamically.

Practice mindfulness to be more intuitive

Mindfulness is not some gimmicky new age paradigm shift that allows you to become a more spiritually connected person. It’s easy to be mindful. You simply need to cut out all the distractions in your life and take some time for yourself. Go for a walk, sit on the beach with your thoughts, take a power nap. Contemplate life, don’t let life contemplate you. Go after what you want with a clear head and an honest heart and you will have reached a state of mindfulness honing your intuition skills.

Nurturing your creativity can lead to better intuition

As mentioned earlier in this post; life is like a paint by numbers kit. No one is trying to reinvent the wheel and turn art into science here, yet it is the reality. Life is an art and the science in the art plays an integral part in how you build your demeanour. You can’t just spot a colour and hope for the best outcome. Your intuition and foresight play a role in what the final image will look like. The same applies to your intuitive skills. You need to practice and nurture your own inherent creativity to paint your life’s masterpiece and guide your future decisions.

Create your own destiny with intuition

Intuition may not be present in your life currently, however, with these insightful tips on what deeply intuitive people do better than most average Joe’s, you too can live a life where you make better decisions daily. Keep checking back on our blog page for more mindful superpowers that can help you reach ultimate success in life.

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.

South Africans are concerned about their working futures

south africans are concerned about job security and employability

The economic and political situation in South Africa has all of her citizens concerned about their job security, especially in the years to come. A research report conducted by MasterStart reveals that a mere 23.8% of working South Africans believe that their current skills will keep them employed in ten years time. One undeniable fact about all South Africans is that we are resourceful, intuitive and most of all survivors. It’s exciting to see that our people are taking initiative, and finding new ways for staying relevant in a world where change occurs almost daily.

Adapt with technology

Technological advancements including artificial intelligence and robotic process automation have the majority of South Africans looking for a way to future-proof their careers. In a survey of over one-thousand people, the MasterStart workforce barometer uncovered a very real statistic. That was 95% of people agreed lifelong learning is the key to retaining relevancy in their chosen field.

A word from the CEO

Andrew Johnston, Former CEO of MasterStart says, “Our workforce is clearly concerned, but positively, our research revealed that people are aware that frequent upskilling and reskilling will aid them in remaining relevant and employable. Especially in a country where unemployment is an ongoing issue, it’s imperative that we empower people to future-proof their careers by making lifelong learning opportunities continuously accessible.”

The Raw Reality

Did you know that it is estimated that artificial intelligence could boost global Gross Domestic Profit by as much as $15-trillion by the year 2030? That’s a whopping injection into the world economy. Aim to be a part of this dynamic movement, with technology that helps make our lives and jobs easier, it is still imperative that we keep ahead of the curve, in order to stay relevant.

Today is the biggest challenge

It’s really tough out there; 80% of people surveyed believe that it is far more difficult to find employment, as opposed to ten years ago.

Factors to consider today

In today’s day and age, there are numerous aspects to consider in the South African workforce. If we zoom into it; macro and micro factors seem to be at the core of the current employment situation in South Africa.

The most talked about and obvious being the political and economic climate of the country. Increased competition, where even online businesses are starting to become over saturated making it difficult to stand out. Fewer employment opportunities and rapid change have also been noted as a hindrance to growth and development within the job market.

IT and technology jobs are seen as the most secure

It’s actually quite ironic that IT and technology-related jobs are viewed as the most secure amongst South Africans since these very industries are responsible for decreasing the demand for human engagement in the workplace. Our survey noted that 30% of IT and tech employees felt supremely confident in their skills and relevance moving forward into the future, or at the very least for the next ten years.

Don’t let age hinder your career prospects

Many of the survey participants claimed that their age and lack of skills were their biggest barriers to gaining meaningful employment, especially for people over the age of fifty. It is interesting to note that people from twenty-four up to the age of thirty-four listed a lack of skills as the most prohibiting factor in securing employment.

Recognise, Retain and Nurture Talent

Large companies need to take the lead. Corporations can help by becoming apart of the solution. By investing in their staffs’ education, they are able to upskill their employees to help them stay relevant in a world that is constantly changing and adapting to technological needs. The reality is not all managers are equipped to deal with people on a human level.

If you recognise this, it could be beneficial for your business to upskill managers on people skills. A short course in human resource management from MasterStart may just be the answer you have been looking for. Likewise, there are various courses on offer for any employee wishing to stay relevant in the modern age. The key to staying relevant and a cut above the rest is lifelong learning. This short-course will help you stay at the top of your chosen field, now, and far into the future.

 

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Even with the glum statistics and the current recession South Africa has slipped into, rest assured there is still hope on the horizon. Its uplifting to see that 80% of survey respondents were planning to study further in the future. Studying further allows you to not only enrich yourself but enrich your company. The majority of companies love employees who take the initiative to study further and enhance their skill set.

Look to study online

Studying online courses can help you receive that promotion that you have been yearning for, followed by a hefty salary increase. You owe it to yourself to stay relevant, which will ultimately result in a more diverse set of skills making you less irreplaceable, higher motivation levels and improved communication skills, which allow you to form long and lasting relationships with your company.

Johnston concludes, “Given the competitiveness of the market – which will only increase with the rise of automation – having a sought-after skillset is the best way to guarantee ongoing job retention.  This means using online learning tools to get to grips with AI and RPA in order to build on efficiency and one’s overall value-add in a business.”

Read the top 10 key findings from the survey here: MasterStart Workforce Barometer Report 2018.

 

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!

4 unlikely skills that can drive your team to victory

winning skills

We can go on and on about the many technical and conceptual skills every great manager needs. Skills such as: communication, organisation, analytical and logical skills, basic financial skills … the list goes on. However, there are a few unlikely skills every manager should develop to drive their team to victory – skills you may not have associated with the role of a manager, yet almost guarantee a winning outcome every time.

These skills may not directly impact the outcome of a task but they certainly impact the team and the vision positively, influencing performance and productivity.

HR skills

Though most management roles don’t require HR skills, it’s a skill that presents many advantages. A team is made up of diverse individuals of varying age and ability, and finding a way to effectively manage and motivate each individual in a way that speaks to them is invaluable to performance. Another advantage that comes with acquiring HR-related skills is the ability to successfully recruit, select, retain and nurture talent within a team. This again impacts productivity and performance, and will almost always guarantee victory. People are the most important asset, and a manager who acknowledges this and strategizes accordingly will always see great results.

Sales Skills

Managers should always have a vision, and this vision should always be communicated effectively with team members to ensure they’re aware of what’s expected of them; what the objectives are, and ultimately where they’re headed. However, to get team members on board with your vision and get them excited and motivated to inject their best efforts, managers need sales skills. This is because the manager needs to sell the vision to their team – they need to make the vision sound enthralling and compelling, enough for the team to feel exhilarated to perform.

Creative skills

Most of a manager’s role involves strategy development: finding more effective and efficient ways of doing things; better ways to motivate people and improve team performance, and they’re often required to develop strategic visions. This requires a level of creativity, in order to formulate smart strategies that propel the team forward. Without creativity, the manager would find it challenging to come up with inspiring ideas; and without inspiring ideas, the team is sure to become static.

Strong self-management skills

This may seem like a rather strange skill. You’re probably thinking ‘of course managers would already know how to manage themselves’ – especially if they know how to manage other people. Surprisingly, however, many managers lack self-management skills. Many are unable to manage their stress or even their own workload effectively; sending a ripple effect through their teams. Some find it difficult to manage their emotions – often acting out of impulse or making decisions based on their own feelings, rather than what’s best for the team. Strong self-management skills give managers the upper hand, as they are able to separate their strains from their responsibilities as a manager; which positively affects those around them, as well as overall results.

Become a well-rounded manager who not only displays technical and conceptual ability but who is skillful in ‘unlikely’ areas that are guaranteed to take your team to the next level!

Leadership essentials

essential traits of leaders

Do you believe you have what it takes to be a great leader? Do you recognise leadership characteristics within yourself?
Most leaders are born with leadership qualities; but even so, these qualities need to be nurtured and refined in order to be executed and used to their full potential. While one can learn many effective leadership techniques, there’s another effective way to strengthen your given leadership skills – this is by practicing them each day, in every situation, and embodying the behaviour of a leader. This will train you into becoming a strong, influential individual, who leads naturally and effortlessly.

By practising these leadership qualities – in every situation, you’ll be on your way to nurturing your leadership potential:

1. Inspire and uplift

One of the key characteristics of an effective leader is the ability to drive positive change. Leaders know there are various ways to approach this challenge, but one of the most effective ways is through inspiring and uplifting those around them. This is how trust is cultivated, and it’s also the fastest way to increase the motivation of team members. It takes a strong, charismatic individual who understands the value of people, to successfully steer a team. If you want to engrain this highly effective leadership quality into your psyche, practise inspiring and uplifting those around you; whether they’re family, friends or even strangers. By exercising this characteristic early on, you’ll find it easier to step into a leadership role in the future and successfully influence your team.

2. Set attainable goals

Leaders should always set attainable goals. Without clear-cut goals there’d be no clear direction of where the team is going and what’s being worked towards – this negatively affects motivation and therefore productivity. When leading a team; attainable goals are critical as they remove fear and are easier to ‘swallow’, whereas big goals have the potential to intimidate. To learn how to set attainable goals and work towards achieving a vision, set attainable personal goals for yourself. Identify what motivates you to achieve them, and recognise the difference in your personal performance when faced with daunting long-term goals compared to attainable short-term goals. This awareness will give you a clearer indication of how most people (and your future team) would react.

3. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is a vital prerequisite for the role of a leader. A leader needs to effectively communicate with their team members so that each individual is aware of the goals, objectives and the ultimate vision. Without clear communication from the leader, team members would be oblivious to what is expected of them – which is sure to affect motivation, productivity and performance. Leaders need to act as the communication vessel between different departments, as well as carry and relay information from top management, to staff and vice-versa. To become a strong communicator, practice communicating clearly with those around you. Try to predict the questions people would ask, based on the information you’re giving them, and recognise the weaknesses in your approach, which need to be worked on.

4. Give Recognition

Leaders should give recognition where it’s due, especially if they want to positively impact motivation of team members. People want their efforts to be recognised, and it drives staff to maintain – or exceed their previous performance when their superiors acknowledge them and their hard work. To become an individual that identifies the good in others, practise giving recognition to those you see are doing their best. This will help you to quickly identify, and acknowledge your team members’ efforts in the future.

5. Balance emotion and logic

It’s important that leaders find a balance between emotion and logic. While they should display a degree of empathy, it’s important they also manage emotions to ensure a clear perspective in all situations. Leaders are usually more logical than emotional, however, decisions based solely on logic can also be fairly dangerous as there’s a higher chance of team members’ feelings being disregarded. A balance of emotion and logic is a great formula to becoming a successful leader. Learn how to find the perfect balance between the two, by becoming aware of your emotions, your actions, and the way you seek out solutions. This will give you a clear idea of which side is stronger, and therefore which side needs to be nurtured.

You know the saying: “Practise makes perfect”! Become an influential individual by practising the above leadership traits, and nurturing your leadership abilities. To become an unstoppable force in leadership, however, you may want to invest in your career potential too.

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