“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” – Stephen Covey
Managers have a load of responsibilities that include planning, organizing, directing, controlling, mentoring, managing resources and people, among other roles. Managers may use flowcharts to become more efficient – enhance their ability towards decision-making, problem solving, and team management. Flowcharts, as a visual and simple tool helps to breakdown a process, visualize the sequence, map the flow of the process, and raise understanding of how each of these steps should be done. With rising competition today, those who are in leadership positions have the responsibility of keeping their teams and business ahead of others, and any help they can get would be longed-for. By using a visual tool to lay down processes and the requirements therein enables everyone to understand process flow and their responsibilities. It therefore supports the statement that managers may use flowcharts to become more efficient.
To ensure that you are using flowcharts to become more efficient, it is important to keep in mind the purpose, best practices, and proper use of symbols. You may not be an expert in flowchart creation, but by familiarizing oneself with the standards of flowchart making, managers could then hone their management skills and use flowcharts to become more efficient. Becoming more efficient is sometimes as simple as getting a clear understanding of the entire gamut of processes that work within an organization. In order to grow, move to bigger roles, diversify one’s portfolio, and more – managers must have a good understanding of processes. They must understand the steps, the order in which they are performed, the people required, their responsibilities, and end expected result – of all processes within the company. This will help them execute their responsibilities better with regard to planning, delegation, decisions, corrective action, and more – basically become more efficient. A flowchart helps to better understand and even memorize processes.
Let us look at some more ways that flowcharts help managers to become more efficient.
- Calculated and Informed Decisions
A manager’s role has decision making imbedded in it. While some decisions are easier and hardly require much thought, there are others that require intense focus and critical thinking in order to make and execute. To become more efficient, it would be wise to use flowcharts to help with decisions that require accurate calculation, analysis, and execution. In fact, the visually effective tool can prove indispensable. Decision making simply is the selection of the most suitable path/alternative from a range of solutions/alternatives. While taking a decision can be scary, especially because one cannot be a 100% certain of the outcome, but by using a tool such as a flowchart one could be sure of selecting the solution that would have undesirable consequences. Managers would be able to effectively evaluate all the solutions rather than applying guesswork, and reach a solution in a structured manner.
Using a flowchart for this exercise enables a manager to breakdown the issue/problem/situation, look at it in a systematic manner, ask for opinions/views, and finally reach a solution that would be practical, easy, and sustainable. Managers who become more efficient over time, are more likely to be considered for top level positions/assignments.
- Problem Solving with Ease
At a managerial position, problem solving comes with the turf. Managers are expected to be skilled at problem solving, since problems are a given at the workplace for innumerable reasons. Being a good problem solver is one of the yardsticks of being more efficient. To become more efficient in this realm, a manager should be able to foresee problems and reduce their occurrence and intensity if they do occur. They should also be able to find effective remedies swiftly. A flowchart helps to become more efficient in problem solving since it helps with clearly identifying the problem and finding a sensible and doable solution with ease. It also helps to analyze the reliability and sustainability of the solution. Just think about the praise you would receive as a manager!
- Methodical and Meticulous Project Planning
Projects can prove to be the undoing of some of the best managers. They require intense focus and expertise with regard to managing risk, allocating resources, and ensuring that nothing falls through the gaps. A flowchart is a great project management tool – it helps map out the plan, identify the tasks, keep track of every element in the project, enables the addition of timelines, owners, adding swim lanes, and so much more.
- Create and Manage Strategies for Change
Creating and managing change is perhaps one of the hardest things that a manager is required to do. Most people are uncomfortable with change, and hence strong leadership and a sound understanding of how to implement organizational change are essential. A critical part of a manager’s role includes designing initiatives for change, communicating them to the team/subordinates, putting them into action, and managing the effects long term. Using a flowchart will help a manager to become more efficient in this exercise, while also managing the human element of change resistance.
With the help of a flowchart, creating a definable strategy for change and other managerial initiatives become easier and efficient. Managers would find it easier to create a business case, update it continuously, monitor risks and assumptions, understand ROI, and any cultural and other issues that might prove to be roadblocks in progress. On the path to become more efficient, open communication is critical too. The visually sound tool – the flowchart – would help managers communicate the reasons and benefits of certain changes and projects, the benefits of the same, and process being undertaken to manage all.
Any manager that hopes to become more efficient cannot hope to do so in isolation. Employee empowerment and buy-in is essential too. A flowchart can prove to be a useful tool to devise an educative training and skills upgrading program for all employees. In doing so, not only would the workforce upgrade their skills, but managers would find it easier to counter any possible resistance. When employees can see clear benefits, they become more amenable to change and to help ensure that processes work smoothly. A cooperative team and collaborative task force are critical for a manager to become more efficient.
A great part of flowcharts is that they serve as a blueprint for the future, can be easily shared, and help newbies learn ‘the ropes’ faster. These visual tools help to monitor implementation, track changes, and fine tune as required. Flowcharts are not unique to a particular style of leadership and management. While every leadership has it unique set of behaviors, perceptions, attitudes, and skills – a flowchart can easily capture each/all styles. With a clear guideline, managers would be better at fostering enthusiasm, helping their teams, and addressing resilience to change. As a tool that is visually easy to follow, a manager would be able to combine and integrate any cultural and human concerns, with the help of a flowchart. Due diligence of resources and the human capital, are also a lot easier.
With rising competition, it would bode well for a manager to be agile and quick to respond to organizational requirements. A manager who can quickly anticipate threats, recognize opportunities, remain adaptable, and maintain continuity, would be better equipped to lead. The efficacy and long term success of any organization would largely depend on the quality of its leadership. Their success would be predicated on the ability to adapt and the speed at which successful integration of new ideas, programs, and strategies within the framework, is executed.