Radhika has just joined a new organization with a title of a manager. She, apart from her regular responsibilities, needs to manage a team of 6 very diverse set of employees – while all of them are very enterprising, Radhika understood that there is very little team-bonding. A regular job which with everyone’s assistance usually takes a day to finish, because of lack of ‘direction’ the work gets done in 3 days. This leads to frustration, unhealthy working relationships, gossip – and more importantly the reason why the previous manager before Radhika quit the job.
She decided to take it on herself and set things right. She knew that by following these 7 principles, she can make things work for the team, colleagues and for the company.
Know your team members
Resume is just not for job application and HR of the company. It’s an essential one-pager to understand a candidate. A manager should know the bio of his/her team members very well. In professional capacity, this will help in delegating projects according to the strengths and weaknesses. For example, Radhika realised that one of her colleagues is very good with executing the plan of action but lacks in ideation. She promptly shuffled the team in such a manner that the executioner felt at ease while working. However, she made sure that he was still part of the ideation meet so that the person develops certain characteristics pertaining to developing plans.
It’s also essential for the manager to understand the acumen of his/her team members personally. He/she should be able to know the likes and dislikes and should be careful enough not to spill these to other colleagues. It’s all about understanding a person before delegating important work, and when you have a rapport, ease of doing a job becomes a norm.
Don’t play politics
Since a manager has information about each and every team member – their strengths, failures or even success, he/she should not use the information against them. Playing one team member against the other is a great no-no when it comes to organizational success and team bonding. This will not only help you secure confidence from your team members but also create better working relationships.
Before you delegate task, you should be able to do it
Delegating work is essential, but just because you have team members to do various jobs, that doesn’t mean you will heap work on your team mates. It might not be physically possible to do all the work but you should be able to understand and be able to deliver work which you delegate (even with help). Because your team members look up to you for aspirations, career progression – and they want to learn things which you know, it’s important for you to upskill yourself in regular intervals and also one should know the work you are entrusting your colleagues to do. That brings respect and more credibility.
Believe in transparency
Communicate more with your team mates. You are the person who will give them information about what the senior management is thinking about. Your team members rely on your transparent views. Make sure you attend meetings with your senior colleagues with attention and chalk down the minute details which need to be percolated to your team members. One small misinformation from your end can become a serious issue and then become a ‘blame-game’ later on.
Encourage healthy competition
There is no need to start a race within your team about ‘who-wins-first’ or who clocked more revenues. But encourage a team competition about how and why it should matter and how a good productivity will ensure their progress. This will augment in better team relationships and also will ensure you have the pulse of your team members in your hand.
There’s nothing like winning as a team, and each member should feel they contributed to the entire win. It’s the most important duty of a manager.
Assess your unconscious bias
Come to think of it. We all fall for this bias. As per human behaviour, we tend to give good projects to people whom we trust, or even know them best. Try and rise above this. Give projects to people who will drive growth and not your favourites. Yes, there is no harm in having favourites but you should be able to judge which work is best for them. Showering your best protégé with compliments even when he/she has not done something worthwhile will only showcase your inability to handle talent. And soon, you will be left with your not-so-good favourite colleague and your tattered reputation.
Ask for feedback from subordinates
Feedback is important for mending all the severed relationships. At least once a year, or however you deem fit (may be Project wise or quarterly), ask your team members to assess their Manager – which is you. Ask them to do it anonymously, and do not try to find out who wrote what. Take criticisms positively because it’s the first step to correct your actions. If you think you are infallible, and since you are the manager you can’t do any wrong, think again. A manager loses his/her integrity the moment she/he believes this.
These 7 points are not really exclusive. All of us have an idea about what makes a good manager. But what happens is over the years, while working, we all tend to forget or move over these tips as something we read/followed in the past. But looking ahead, we realise, these are essential to retain good talent, improve relationships, for great employee engagement, and the crux of the entire HR panorama. This article is to just to make you re-visit those basic HR tenets.
In case you have more pointers on how to be a Great Manager, don’t forget to share it with us! Your expert comments matter!