Case Study 12 – How to Build Confidence in your team members as a Leader

Introduction

The organization is in to Industrial machinery manufacturing business since last 30 years and having a turn over around 50 crores and strength of around 150 people and offices in Mumbai and Gujarat. The organization is run by professionally managed Family Members and having vision to grow the company to around 150 crores by next 5 years. They organization is run with very good process and system and competent team leaders in the organization.

Scenario

The management has a severe setback in their accounts and finance activities since the Accounts Manager has decided to leave the organization, who has been working in the organization since last 10 years and has built a good trust and confidence with the all management member’s. After the resignation, the issue is discussed within all top management members and decided mutually that the Accounts Manager will be leaving the organization in a span of 6 months till they find suitable trust worthy Accounts Manager in place of her. Under the Accounts Manager, there is a team of around 4 people who were trained by her but never exposed to the responsibilities to interact with the top management members. Since the Accounts Manager who has resigned from the post has taken leave several times and during that period the team members were instructed by the Accounts Manager to get some work done or approval from management member which they were not able to do so because of over protection by Accounts Manager to all team members. The management have realized gap between the Accounts Manager and team members regarding delegation of work where all team members were knowing their responsibilities but unable face queries raised by management members (For example payment to one of the vendors which very urgent was supposed to be released by team members in absence of the Accounts Manager was not done since some of the clarification is required to the management member before releasing the cheque was not explained properly by the team members and the release of payment got further delayed due to unavailability of Accounts Manager who has taken 10 days leave). It was a clear sign of lack of delegation and low confidence of team members which needs to be elevated.

The management was not able to get the accounts on track due to these issues, they knew the fact that the team members under the guidance of Accounts Manager were well trained but they were not feeling confident to close the transaction directly with management.

On the other hand the management was not able to find the suitable replacement of new Accounts Manager in place of old Accounts Manager. Although the Accounts manager is having a very good relations with the management, she was ready to stay back till the management does not get the right candidate in place of her.

There were two major challenges to the organization one is to find new Accounts Manager and second is to make the team members more responsible and accountable.

Finding the Facts

A study was carried with following steps:-

  1. Understanding the history of organization
  2. Understanding thought process of management members
  3. Understanding financial aspects of organization
  4. Understanding the financial processes and roles and responsibilities of each team members and Accounts Manager
  5. Understanding number of transactions in accounts and finance
  6. Understanding the reports and reporting method between Accounts Manager and management
  7. Understanding the reports and reporting method between team members and Accounts Manager
  8. Understanding level of authorities provided by top management to Accounts Manager
  9. Understanding level of authorities provided by Accounts Manager to their team members
  10. Taking few rounds of meeting with Accounts Manager to realize her deficiency to build confidence in team members
  11. Taking one round of meeting with Accounts team members
  12. Review present day challenges faced by management in absence of Accounts Manager
  13. Validating the discussion with management members and accounts team to find the facts and come to conclusion

Followings are the root cause identified:-

We have identified several challenges which are related to reporting, delegation, building confidence in team members (which is one of the leadership qualities). The first and foremost point is the reporting method and review method by top management which is not in structured manner. The second challenge is about the delegation and authority matrix of Accounts Manager to team members which was not appropriate and building their confidence to redirect some of the report to the management members with proper reconciliation method and training to be provided  by Accounts Manager.

The other challenge is the management cannot establish confidence and trust by management members in new Accounts Manager due to process deficiency and clarity on reporting method.

Due to lack of confidence in accounts team and unstructured reporting to the Management members were very much depending on the Accounts Manager and due to that the Accounts Manager was not able to manage team members and resulting in day to day accounting problems.

The main root cause is lack of Leadership in:-

  • Empathy
  • Delegation
  • Empowerment
  • Direction

We have observed that the accounts manager was a “task oriented leader” rather than “people oriented leader”

Solution implemented

We have first discussed all points with Accounts Manager to convince her that there is lack of reporting process, lack of leadership quality “Building the confident team” and based on that we have made following action plan to implement:-

  • Make MIS for accounts and reporting method with frequency of reporting
  • Make team accountable for some of the processes through MIS
  • Conduct regular meeting with team member’s based on the activities and MIS
  • Resolve the team member’s micro level issues to report to the management for certain key areas like vendor payment
  • Build confidence in team members with internal reconciliation method of each accounts processes and gradually instigating Accounts Manager to delegate some of the authorities to team members so that each team member will be confident enough to justify their activities to the management members
  • Taking management in to confidence with the changes being made and reporting method
  • Prepare succession plan for new Accounts Manager

Outcome

  • The accounts team members have started reporting independently to the management members for key processes
  • Accounts Manager has improved with structure reporting and was successful in bringing confidence in team members which has reduced her work load of reporting to management members
  • Management have realized the over dependency on Accounts Manager and focused more on MIS and agenda based discussion

Conclusion

As  General  Montgomery  (British  military  commander  of  World  War  II)  quoted “My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence”.

To “Build the confidence in team members”, the organization always has to pursue on improving the leadership quality on each team members.



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