I am a manager in a growing BPO organization in the Indian IT city. We have recently hired 3 new MTs from a reputed business school, and I am facing trouble working with them. While they keep saying they will do the job on the said deadline and I do believe they will do it, but I feel compelled to take daily updates from them and this seems to annoy them. As it is their first corporate project, I need to take daily updates on the work done to ensure we are on track, while the MTs are anxious from these daily meetings and updates to report the work done. Since I am heading the project, while I know they are capable of committing to the deadline, I cannot do away with taking these updates as it is my responsibility at the end of the day. I am not sure how to take stock of this situation. I fear there is a disconnect between my managerial style, and the expectation of the MTs. Could this be due to the generational gap? Please advice.
Smart, well-educated, capable and confident people do not like to be micromanaged and that is what you seem to be doing. Older people may just tolerate, while younger people do not, because they have several options, which the older people did not have during their young age hence, maybe they have developed the tolerance.
On the one hand, you say that you believe they are capable and you are sure they will deliver the expected results and on the other hand you expect the daily updates. Is this not the contradiction? You have stated that “you feel compelled” to take daily updates. My question is why? Do the three MTs know where this compulsion is coming from? Is it because of the criticality, complexity or the importance of the project or is it because of the managerial style that you have developed over time. From the question it is not clear to me. Please communicate clearly the reasons for such reviews. If your reasons have a sound logic and the business case, any reasonable person will not resist.
Role of a manager is to help employees succeed and for this, he is expected to provide coaching, mobilize resources, give the team necessary updates, provide the role clarity, set goals, communicate regularly, motivate them and of course ensure periodic reviews, recognize good work done, celebrate success against each milestone, etc. A manager has to ensure that his team members see the bigger picture and are aligned to him/her.
My questions: Have you personally established your own credibility with these MTs? Do they see you performing the roles that I have just illustrated? You have stated that you are heading the project; while that is a truth, it is also a truth that these 3 MTs are part of your project team and are equally responsible for the success of the project. Do they believe in this? Is it your project or your team’s project? Have you made these young MTs an integral part of your team; did you share the vision and the importance of the project? Have you established a good informal as well as formal working relationship with these young new comers? Do they see value and the importance in your expectations of the daily project updates? Do they believe that you are adding value on a daily basis? Do they see the importance of these daily reviews?
Resentment to daily updates is just a symptom of something that has not been done right; it has nothing to do with the generation gap.
Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this, he was based at Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region.
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