Top 3 Management Tools for the Modern Manager


Every leader wants to be effective. Unfortunately, in the current chaotic business environment, sustained achievement and success is becoming much tougher to achieve. With the right tools and approach, however, things can get much easier. But, with a thousand and one business and management tools out there, where can you actually start?

Scouring hundreds of tools and frameworks, from the overused SWOT analysis to Silicon Valley’s Conjoined Triangles of Success, our team at Centre for Creative Thinking have narrowed down the 3 management tools that, when added to your repertoire, will enable you to lead more effectively and achieve higher performance and satisfaction.

Credit: Penn State

Credit: Penn State

Situational Leadership

The leader is not a superhero. The Situational Framework, developed by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey, became well known in the 80’s following the publishing of ‘One Minute Manager’. The theory is based on the fact that leaders should be able to adapt their style to match their team member’s maturity and mindset at any given point.

By combining directive behaviour and supportive behaviour to match situations, managers looking to this tool have four styles to choose from. They are:

  • Telling – this directive style is best used when you have to get things done with a subordinate who is unable and unwilling. The leader is on the ground giving close supervision to get the job done

  • Selling – this approach, also referred to as coaching, is suitable when you have to lead a team member who has low skills set to get a task done, but who is willing and enthusiastic to learn

  • Participating – the supporting style is suitable when dealing with a team member who is competent (able to get the task done) but not so willing to get the job done. With this style, the manager focuses on building the relationship by listening and supporting that person.

  • Delegating – the almost hands-off delegating approach is best suited when the follower is able and willing. The subordinate is in full control of the work process.

There is no one best leadership style that managers should adopt. Rather than focusing on themselves, leaders should adapt to the situation.

The GROW Model

Being a leader is more than just getting tasks done. It is also about unfolding the best within people. This is where the GROW Coaching Model comes into play. The model was developed by Sir John Whitmore, and his book Coaching for Performance is widely seen as the only source you require if you are keen to master coaching skills. In addition to coaching, the GROW model can also used for effective decision making.

The four stages of coaching of GoalsRealityOptions, and Way Forward provide the basis to coach employees.

By establishing the Goal while taking into considerations the current Reality, one needs to explore the Options before deciding the Will/Way forward.

When identifying the Goal, ensure that the Goal is, in fact, S.M.A.R.T. compliant. This paves its way to secure the outcome in a more meaningful way. By asking a series of open-ended questions, one can identify the preferred outcome. The success of the GROW model requires that the coach engages the coachee actively right from the beginning when identifying the goal.

The Reality assessment is all about paying attention to the current situation so that all relevant factors are identified, and that both parties understand the strengths and weaknesses.

The third step of the GROW model is all about identifying the Options. The divergent aspect of this step brings out possible alternatives and solutions to achieve the goal. Keeping an open mind and actively asking How Might I… will certainly bring out a number of possible solutions.

The final step of the GROW coaching model is WILL/WAY to move forward. Now that we have a range of possible solutions as a result of the divergent thinking, this step it is about narrowing down the choices (Convergent Thinking) by simply paying attention to the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.

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Kotter’s Eight-Step Process for Leading Change

As the adage goes, changes the only constant. Ignoring the fact that this statement is inaccurate (think dimensionless constants, mathematical constants like π, and the speed of light in a vacuum), the fact remains that change plays a significant part in our professional lives. Whether its an upheaval of a long-standing ERP, restructuring within your organisation, or changes in policy and SOP, we’re inundated with some sort of change almost all the time. If you’ve ever wondered how you can go about leading these change successfully, this tool will definitely aid you in your journey. John Kotter, a Harvard University Professor, recommends that we follow an 8-step change model for implementing change successfully.

It starts with creating a sense of urgency and ends with step 8, which is anchoring the change.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or want to reach out to me, my email is Let me know if I can be of any help  You might also want to check out the Managers Guide to Innovation & Creativity.

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