Top Tips for Being a Successful Leader in 2020
Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of Resume Library lists his top tips for being a successful leader.
Being a successful leader isn’t easy. It requires you to stay focused on strategic business goals and steer your team accordingly. However, when combined with challenging team dynamics and constantly shifting priorities, successful leadership can feel like an impossible task.
As we approach 2020, being a successful leader won’t get any easier. With an election on the horizon and key economic policies subject to change; it will take strong leadership to keep your business afloat. With this in mind, here are some top tips to improve your leadership skills in the new year.
Communication is Key
When it comes to being a successful leader, nothing is more important than good communication. A business can’t move forward without a vision and set goals; and a team can’t deliver on those ambitions if they aren’t properly communicated. As a leader, you must ensure you can do this quickly and effectively.
The first step is ensuring your employees know how these long-term business goals affect them. Start by clearly laying out how their day-to-day efforts move the business towards these objectives; and why it’s important that they keep these in mind when planning any upcoming projects. This will enable your team to understand the bigger picture and be passionate about the work they’re doing.
However, a successful leader should also be able to communicate instructions clearly and efficiently. When passing on a task, be sure to cover the following:
A detailed explanation for what is required
A clear deadline for when the job needs to be completed
Any supporting documents that may be needed to carry out the task; or directions for finding them
Giving this information when delegating work enables your employees to do the task correctly – on the first try. Ultimately, this will improve productivity as staff can complete projects quickly and efficiently.
Don’t Forget to Delegate
A must-have for any successful leader is the ability to delegate. As a manager, your time will be taken up by forward planning and managing your team. This will mean you are responsible prioritising projects and allocating tasks accordingly.
While it might be tempting to take on the lion’s share of the work; it isn’t a productive way to operate. Rather than doing it all yourself, split a project up task by task. A successful leader will take the time to identify which tasks would be better suited to certain team members; considering any skills, interests and experience. This will free up time and enable you to keep tabs on the progress of the project; while supporting your team in developing their skills.
However, be careful not to micromanage. If you find yourself trying to excessively control or monitor your team, it is important you try to take a step back. Micromanaging can be detrimental to morale and can seriously reduce productivity. Be sure to check in on the progress of a task and offer assistance or support where needed; without being overly controlling or needlessly negative.
Trust is important in any relationship – including between a manager and their team. The first step to building trust is being transparent with your employees. Be honest about your mistakes; upfront about your expectations; and give clear feedback, both when giving praise and offering constructive criticism. This will allow employees to see things from your perspective and understand your decisions.
In addition, a successful leader will insist that team members respect each other and will encourage supportive behavior. Lead by example and make time to listen to their ideas, recognize their opinions and be respectful of their time. This will encourage a positive working environment and help employees to feel comfortable under your leadership.
Transparency and respect will result in a strong level of trust in any team. It means employees can see that you’re a fair boss, open to new ideas and that you understand everyone makes mistakes. This improves productivity and stimulates creativity, collaboration and innovation – the hallmarks of successful leadership.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Finally, it’s important to remember that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to leadership and management; every individual will have different needs. Some will respond to a more involved management style, while others might prefer a hands-off approach.
Either way, being a successful leader means you’ll be able to adjust accordingly and provide a supportive environment for development and learning.
Take the time to listen to your employees and figure out what they need to succeed. Whether it’s a firm hand, or the freedom to manage their own time – listening is key. Managing team members effectively helps to strengthen trust and makes employees feel valued; setting you apart as a successful leader.
Being a Successful Leader in 2020
Being a successful leader takes hard work and commitment but is worth the effort. Creating a team where trust, creativity and respect are paramount is the key to successful leadership and to a successful business.
It will improve your quality of work, create a safe space to be innovative; and give your business the edge over any competitors.
No matter how you look at it, being a successful leader will pay dividends in the long run and set you up for a brilliant year in business.
What’s Causing the Global Supply Crunch?
As the global economy gradually recovers from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide supply crunch is intensifying, spreading not only from one country to another, but also from one industry to another.
A year ago, when the pandemic continued to spread, economies around the world were severely hit and there was panic buying among consumers. Today, it is companies that are trying to go on a stockpiling, buying more raw materials than they need to keep up with rapidly recovering demand. The panic buying is fuelling more shortages of raw materials, including copper, iron ore, steel, corn, coffee, wheat, soybeans, wood, semiconductors, plastics, cardboard, etc. As a result, inventories of seemingly every raw material around the world are running low. “You name it, and we have a shortage on it,” Tom Linebarger, chairman and chief executive of engine and generator manufacturer Cummins Inc., said earlier, and he noted that his clients are “trying to get everything they can because they see high demand”.
Supply shortages have driven prices up significantly, with the impact of rising prices for some key raw materials being significant. The prices of various industrial raw materials such as crude oil, plastics, and chemicals are rising. Some of the impacts of higher raw material prices have already begun to be reflected in consumer goods. Reynolds Consumer Products Inc., the maker of the namesake aluminium foil and Hefty trash bags, is planning another round of price hike, and this will be the third for the increase this year alone. Food prices are also climbing. The price of palm oil, the world's most consumed edible oil, has risen more than 135% over the past year to record levels; soybeans have topped USD 16 a bushel for the first time since 2012; corn futures prices have touched an eight-year high, and wheat futures prices have risen to the highest level since 2013.
Changes in factory orders due to the impact of the pandemic have also tightened supply in some markets and pushed up prices for raw materials. Some knitting enterprises in Dongguan, Guangdong, said that affected by the pandemic, about 40% of the orders have come back to China from countries such as India and Southeast Asian countries, while the factory utilisation rate has increased by about 30% to 40%, and now it has reached 100%. In Jiangyin, Jiangsu, a bedsheet enterprise adjusted its production capacity to accommodate a USD 20 million order from Southeast Asia. Increased demand from the textile industry has led to tight supplies of raw materials. In Wujiang, Jiangsu, where polyester filament yarn is the most in demand, the shortage of raw materials this year has been unexpected, especially in the current off-season, when there is not much stock. In Suzhou, also in Jiangsu, the export of polyester filament yarn increased by nearly 60% from January to April, while the price increased by 40% to 60%. Compared with the same period last year, the price of filament yarn increased by RMB 2000-3000/ton.
Remarkably, this hoarding frenzy is pushing global supply chains to the brink of collapse. Inventory shortages, transportation bottlenecks, and price increases are nearing critical levels, raising concerns that strong global growth could fuel inflation. The supply disruptions in the past are simply incomparable compared to the severe inventory crunch of 2021. Industry insiders predict that both large and small enterprises will be affected by this supply shortage.
Why are current supply shortages so acute?
Researchers at ANBOUND believe that instead of having one single factor, there are multiple reasons for the emergence of complex systemic problems.
First of all, there is the recovery in demand as the pandemic is brought under control. This year, as vaccination rollout efforts have brought the pandemic significantly under control in the United States and some European countries, the economy has begun to show significant momentum for recovery. This trend prompted a near-simultaneous recovery in most markets around the world. The collective recovery of global markets has led to a near-simultaneous increase in demand, exacerbating the mismatch between supply and demand. In the case of commodity futures, the capital was collectively bullish on commodities under such expectations, significantly driving up the prices of commodities (mostly upstream commodities) and spreading to midstream and downstream commodities. It should be noted in particular that the surge in demand for certain specific commodities under the pandemic has also exacerbated the supply-demand mismatch in some industrial chains. For example, the increase in the need of remote, online working and studying has increased the demand for all kinds of electronic products, leading to a surge in global demand for semiconductor chips, which affects several chip-requiring industries.
Another reason is that the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain system, causing distortions in supply and demand in certain industries, which are transmitted along the supply chain, causing a wider supply crunch. As ANBOUND previously pointed out, the spread of the pandemic has dealt multiple blows to global supply chains. During the pandemic, China, as the "world's factory", was affected by the pandemic and its production side was disrupted. Then, the demand side of developed countries was suppressed by the impact of the pandemic. This is followed by the fact that the malfunctioning of the global supply chain system has exacerbated global supply distortions. To cite an example, the severe shortage of containers due to disruption of the supply chain has exacerbated the global supply distortions.
In addition, enterprises began to collectively increase their inventories, leading to the increase of inventories in the industrial chain and supply chain, amplifying the demand for all kinds of raw materials, intermediate products, and supporting products. In the past, in order to save costs and improve efficiency, many enterprises advocated zero-inventory production and tried to reduce the inventory in the production link, thereby reducing the capital occupation. However, the smooth operation of zero inventory production depends on the efficient global supply chain system. Once a problem occurs in the global supply chain system, it can lead to chaos in the whole supply chain system. The 2011 earthquake in Tōhoku, Japan has caused the shutdown of some key auto parts plants, which once led to the global auto supply chain being affected. Likewise, the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic since last year has damaged, distorted, and even disrupted global supply chains.
Finally, geopolitical factors have also contributed to the tight supply of global commodities, resulting in the artificial disruption of part of the industrial chain and supply chain. For example, the U.S.-driven crackdown on chip supply to Chinese enterprises and related sanctions have seriously disrupted the global semiconductor industry chain.
How long will the supply crunch last?
Overall, the global supply crunch is due to a variety of reasons, including increased demand from the post-pandemic economic recovery, distortions in global supply chains caused by the pandemic, collective stockpiling by enterprises around the world, and geopolitical disruptions. However, this does not represent a significant expansion of aggregate global demand, but rather a distortion of the existing system as it is disrupted and broken. Judging from the current situation, this tight supply situation will last for a long time, leading to the price rise of raw materials and components. Therefore, both enterprises and governments need to be prepared for this scenario in the medium- and long-term.
Mr. He Jun is Partner, Director of China Macro-Economic Research Team and Senior Researcher. His research field covers China’s macro-economy, energy industry and public policy.