Turning the cost of an employee into an asset to the organisation

Procurement leadership can enhance employees’ performance, who can then add value by improving supply chain performance in their organisations, leading to an improved bottom-line and sustainable profitability, Ronald Mlalazi (MCIPS), Edcation Manager at Commerce Edge Academy, tells SmartProcurement.

In his 9th article for SmartProcurement’s World-Class Procurement Practice series, Mlalazi discusses how the potential for an employee to be a cost or an asset can be attributed to management and leadership styles.

The series is based on Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) unit content and on recent research done by Commerce Edge Academy. This month’s article is based on Level 6, Unit 1, ‘Leading and Influencing in Purchasing’.

Organisations achieve their goals through their employees. Their continued progression depends greatly on the effectiveness which these employees offer. Needless to say, employees ought to deliver a healthy return on investment. “As clearly stated in the definition for management and leadership, the potential for an employee to be a cost or an asset can be attributed to management and leadership styles,” says Mlalazi.

Consider the following definitions and the impact that leadership style can have on an employee’s performance:
• Management is the process of completing activities efficiently and effectively with and through other people.
• Leadership is the process of directing and influencing the task-related activities of group members.

“Borrowing from the above definitions, it is clear that managers and business leaders have a direct contribution to an employee’s output,” he says.

As propounded by McGregor’s Theory X and Y, human beings are very complex and hence their work behaviour and attitudes are largely affected by how they are managed.

Hersey’s model of situational leadership is a tool that managers can use to determine the leadership style as well as the kind of training and development needs required by their subordinates.

The management strategy and human resources policies that organisations have can boost employees’ performance and in turn get the most out them. Motivated employees give the business a vibrancy that gives the organisation that sharpens its competitive edge over. As noted by Abraham Maslow, in his hierarchy of needs, employees seek work for different reasons, implying that they will not contribute effectively to their organisations without the correct motivation, notes Mlalazi.

A poorly managed workforce can be a serious cost to an organisation as it might lead to de-motivation, ‘feet dragging’ or resignations. Staff replacement is an expensive exercise which organisations can ill afford, especially if resignations are triggered by poor management and leadership styles.

In order to improve supply chain performance through world class procurement leadership, there are a number of tools and techniques that Procurement professionals can adopt and customise to their operations:
• Differentiating procurement leadership and management.
• Identifying the attributes of successful procurement leaders.
• Understanding different ways of leadership styles and approaches.
• How to lead and influence in the supply chain and team building.
• The importance of developing the workforce and how to lead and manage the winning team.
• Understanding the impact of change management and overcoming the barriers to change.

To learn more about Commerce Edge Academy and CIPS Qualifications, please contact Ronald Mlalazi, Education Manager of Commerce Edge Academy at www.commerce-edge.com

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