What are the qualities of a good procurement leader?
A good procurement leader embraces individuals, encourages two-way communication, gives feedback and empowerment. Good procurement leaders create environments where procurement teams can be proactive, innovative and are encouraged to succeed.
For procurement to continue to be seen as a core strategic business function, leaders need to take action and demonstrate the real value in order to continue to raise the profile of procurement within the organisation. Procurement leaders need to strategically position themselves as champions for change, promoting the highest standards of ethical practice for their organisations and supply chains.
As we continue to see with the perception of procurement results in the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights, there is still crucial work to do by leaders in terms of influencing key internal stakeholders and senior business leaders if procurement is to gain the recognition it deserves as a critical business discipline on par with other well-regarded departments.
What Soft Skills are needed for Procurement?
Soft Skills are highly sought after skills for modern professionals. The CIPS/Hays Salary Guide highlights the importance of soft skills, which dominate the top five skills in demand for 2020 and are seen as very important by procurement professionals for doing their jobs well. The key for procurement professionals to deliver strategically is through the development and use of the right soft skills. Technical skills and procurement qualifications are an important foundation for professionals to perform well and demonstrate credibility but they can be learned and so abilities such soft skills are high in demand.
What does tomorrow's procurement leader need to be effective?
“Procurement leaders need demonstrate real value against strategic objectives. Procurement teams must be championed by their strategic leaders as enablers, business partners and who understand business needs are core to the success of their organisation, and who are aligned with the social responsibility and ethics agenda.” (Malcolm Harrison, Group CEO, CIPS)
At the heart of a good leaders is PEOPLE and the how effectively procurement leaders are leading their procurement team to success. Leader of the Year 2019 Patrick Dunne shares his story on why he focuses on people not just results.
Inclusive, Informed and Networked Leaders
In the study from Harvard Business Review on the key to inclusive leadership, the more leaders can make people feel included, the more people will be open and comfortable to speaking up with ideas, go the extra mile in their roles to succeed, and collaborate more effectively, which results in enhanced overall business performance.
Harvard Business Review:https://hbr.org/2020/03/the-key-to-inclusive-leadership
“Better-informed leaders don’t always make better decisions, but better decisions almost always start with better-informed leaders.” (Kaan Turnali)
With advancements in technology leaders are well-equipt with access to quality, real time, big data and analytics enabling faster, better informed decisions to made. Ideally data should be used to strengthen decisions and data and analytics should not be solely replied upon to make decisions but take into account other qualitative methods. The Kaan Turnali decision triangle outlines this thinking in a structured way.
Kaan Turnali Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2017/08/20/better-business-decisions-start-with-better-informed-leaders/
We operate in a networked world and it is important for leaders to have a good network with their peers internally and externally and with wider industry peers. Sharing ideas, best practice and the idea of collective leadership is important especially where there may be a sustainable agenda and it makes sense for more departments or organisations to group together to lead strategic change.
Top 5 Skills of a Procurement Leader
The real key to delivering strategically is through the development and use of the right soft skills. Influencing skills are top of the skills for procurement leaders which involves influencing upwards, pitching effectively to the C-Suite and raising the authority of procurement as a profession.
The top skills in demand of a good procurement leader in the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights are:
- Influencing skills - Procurement professionals on all levels need to be able to influence colleagues and suppliers, while at senior levels it is important to influence upwards to gain buy-in and raise the profile of procurement in the organisation.
- Leadership - Strong leadership skills for procurement will not only help to create a successful team but also elevate the profile of procurement at senior levels.
- Communication - Procurement need to be able to communicate effectively on all levels to engage with stakeholders and suppliers to develop the correct specifications, accurate expediting and stock control as well as good supplier relationships and effective contract management.
- Change Management - Change management skills are high in demand to lead strategic sourcing plus change and transformation.
- Internal Stakeholder Management - Building a relationship and managing internal stakeholders through effective identification, communication and engagement strategies is critical for success.
Top 5 Skills of a Good Leader
Internal Stakeholder Management
Supplier Relationship Management
CIPS Procurement Powerlist
The CIPS Procurement Powerlist recognises leaders who are pushing procurement and supply chain strategy forward, making a positive contribution to the reputation of the profession, via the value to their own organisations and the work they do to raise the profile of the profession more widely.
Hear from some of the 2018 Powerlist with their top tips for aspiring leaders:
Effective Leadership tips from Eirini Etimou
This podcast with Eirini Etimou focuses on her Effective Leadership tips and shares her view on; "What effective leadership is" and what the qualities of an effective leader are".
Increasing Influence tips from Eirini Etimou
This podcast with Eirini focuses on Increasing Influence and discusses her view on Why is it so important for leaders to be able to influence effectively
CIPS Teams, Leadership and Management Tools
- Teams v Groups - This model shows the difference between teams and groups.
- What managers do, what leaders do - This model demonstrates the fundamental differences between managers and leaders.
- Managers v Leaders - This diagram shows the differences between leaders and managers.
- Management styles - There are many styles of management. This model focuses on four of them.
- Leadership styles - As with management, there are many types and styles of leadership. This model focuses of four styles.
- Cross-functional teams - This model shows how in a team situation functions within an organisation and suppliers external to the company can come together to form cross-functional/organisational teams.
- Global teams - Teams can be internal, external, cross-functional or global. This model shows how global teams can work together.
- Hersey & Blanchard - The four quadrant model details directing, coaching, supporting and delegating.
- Herzberg - This model shows how motivation and satisfaction within the work place, procurement or within teams is formed from two different factors.
- Maslow - This model is used and understood by good leaders. This work shows that in order to be completely motivated and as such perform well as a team member, an individual has to be satisfied in a number of areas.
- Team roles (Belbin) - All teams need a variety of skills, character traits and personalities for optimum effectiveness.
- Team formation (Tuckman) - The model shows that all teams go through the same five stages in their creation and termination.
- Team building blocks - This model demonstrates how an effective team with good leadership will come together as a collaborative force to build the results that are needed.
- Conflict Resolution - This model shows that there are five main ways in which conflict can be resolved.
- Checklist - This template can be completed by the leader or manager prior to a team meeting.
- Evolution of Procurement Leadership – This model demonstrates how, over a period of time, the understanding and importance of procurement as a strategic function has evolved.
- Strategic Procurement Cogs - This model outlines how through having a strong and effective leader of a procurement function the department can be integral to adding value and reducing costs throughout the organisation which then produces benefits for all areas.
CIPS members can download the CIPS Teams, Leadership and Management Tools listed above to use in your organisation along with the guidance notes with full explanations of all of the tools listed and how to use each tool effectively.
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