Akhil was a very polite and diligent person. Anybody who met him would be appreciative of his demeanor. He invested time in guiding his team, took regular status reports and spoke highly about the technology they were working on. Even his team members were in awe of him.
Knowing all this, Aaradhya from HR found it difficult to understand why his team had so many issues. On the first sight, it appeared that he was stuck with too many bottom performers but slowly even the good performing members in his team started reporting issues. Talking to most of his team members also did not give a clear picture as some of they were really not doing well. It was turning out to be a chicken and egg problem to her since most of them were freshers.
Suddenly it stuck to her to observe some high performing teams to figure out what Akhil was missing. Slowly she started realizing that being a good people’s manager calls for more than being a good human being.
She found out that a good people’s manager would take pains to do the following along with focusing on work.
Understanding the motivations of his team member
People management is more than thinking about what a person brings to the table. It is about knowing what drives the other person and how one could engage him.
Communicating things which matter
Assigning work, sharing context is not sufficient. As a people manager one connects the team with the management and cross-functional teams. People managers thus become the source of credible information for changes/initiatives which are happening around. They can thwart rumor mongering by becoming an authentic and approachable source of information. They should share the top management intent behind key decisions and promote HR initiatives amongst team members. They must set the right job expectations and provide clarity of goals to their team members.
The focus should not just be on getting work done but on identifying the strengths of the team member and seeing how they can be utilized. It is about going the extra mile to provide the right opportunities to a team member and appreciating him for the value he delivers. It is about exploring the opportunity to write some blogs for the official website for a team member who writes well.
Assessing areas of improvement
It is also about backing the team member to work on his weaknesses. People management is more than replacing/looking for backups in case things are not going right. It is about providing regular feedback and giving the team member an opportunity to improve. It is about discussing with HR possible training/coaching options and then providing on the job learning opportunities.
Clearly, it is about taking a genuine interest in the other person with the intent of leaving more than a positive impression in his life.