Ahh, management! The holy grail of every industry. Each fresher joining the workforce has but one dream, that is to someday become a manager. To have a team someday, to have people to assign tasks to, to have the power to ask for status reports and most importantly, to have the authority to chastise personnel for work not done. If you are reading this, chances are you have a manager or you are a manager yourself. But have you ever thought why some people seem to excel at their managerial duties than the rest? Why some managers are revered by their underlings while others are despised with the intensity of a white hot sun?
There are many skills that go into making a manager a great manager. As it turns out, it is possible to understand some of the most common managerial mistakes while learning how to avoid them. A great manager most certainly has people skills but even more so, he behaves like a leader. He creates examples and always takes the first step into troubled water. Here are the top 6 tips that can turn your team into a well oiled super productive machine.
1) Identify The Early Risers From Night Owls:
Each human body is different. It should come as no surprise to anyone. As such some people are early risers. They wake up with the sun and are their most productive at the early hours with a cup of coffee and plenty of energy to space. But as the day progresses, their energy gradually starts to dwindle and by evening, they are itching to finish their day.
Then there are those who cannot get up early in the morning even if you put a timebomb in the room. But these people are often at their productive best during the late hours. When the world sleeps, they churn out high quality work without even breaking a sweat. A great manager understands the work habits of his team and assigns work as much as possible based on their productive hours. WIthout a doubt, such a team excels in terms of productivity. Forcing everyone to work the same hours and expecting same results is counterproductive at best and a monumental failure at worst.
2) Do Not Expect Your Team To Mimic Your Work Routine:
This is a cardinal sin made by many managers, to expect their team to mimic his work day routine and put in as much, if not more efforts than them. But that thought process is fundamentally wrong because, again, each person is different. If a manager who is a workaholic expects his team to work round the clock, they will soon lose the support and respect of their team.
In Japan this scenario creates insane problems in offices as it is considered rude to leave office before or arrive at office after your manager. So people who have managers who work for 14 hours a day end up spending up to 16 hours in office every day. This sometimes leads to serious health challenges and even death(Karoshi)! Identifying this problem Japan has started to enforce strict work hour regulations. Hence it is best to keep your work habits to yourself and judge each team member by task completion and productivity.
3) Identify What Gets Whom Going:
Barking at your employees incessantly will only make them regard you as a scum. Nobody likes nagging and you are not their wife. The occasional stern talk has its place but it quickly loses meaning if not used wisely. Besides, every person responds to different stimuli. Some people are absolutely hungry for encouragement while others work best with a little bit of micromanagement. Some employees respond particularly well to appreciations and some are at their best when promises of increased salary or opportunity beacons. As a manager it is your job to understand what it takes to get the best out of each employee and act accordingly. Using a blanket method for handling all of them will result in absolute failure. Once again, management is not easy!
4) If You Use Swear Words, You Are Not Worthy:
There are so many managers who lose it completely at the slightest hint of trouble and start using curse words in their conversations to emphasize the gravity of the situation. Such a behaviour will quickly mark you out as the scum. As a leader, you are supposed to keep your cool even in the face of adversity. The faster you lose your temper, the more of a scum you are.
It is possible to communicate even the sternest of subjects without resorting to swear words. And no, your story of how your manager back in the day blasted you in the same manner thus making you who you are today is not going to cut it. Your manager was a scum and he has turned you into one. Stop doing it, pronto!
5) Not Setting The Same Benchmark For Everyone:
Some of these pointers might seem too simple and easy to mention but sometimes the simpler something is, the harder it is to incorporate in your practices. Each organisation has a set of benchmarks defined for every role. But how a manager determines the value and contribution of a team member can vary greatly. Often managers set an identical benchmark for team members working at the same level. But does it work? Each person might have different set of skills to begin with.
Some might be good at brainstorming while others could be excellent at following instructions. Some people are fast learners while some are be a bit slow. Some might have advanced soft skills while others could be suited for more of a backroom role. So does it not make sense to create benchmarks and tests suitable for each person’s individual skills? Yes it might mean more work for the manager but again, who said management was easy?
6) If You Are Not Protecting Your Team, You Are Worthless:
A manager becomes a leader when he starts taking responsibility for the team’s faults and takes a backseat at the time of glory. These managers are a rare breed but they definitely exist. Anyone can make mistakes, after all “To err is human.”As a manager, if you prod your team forward when something goes wrong and offload the entire accountability on them, rest assured that you will lose their respect and support pretty soon. But if you shield your team when things go south, they will revere you and go that extra mile whenever you need them.
Being a manager is not easy, becoming a leader is even harder. But putting in that extra bit of effort to endear yourself to your team could go a long way in establishing as a great manager. Just think of the boost your own career will receive if you nail your job as a manager. Your team will be happy and ultra productive as you vie for the topmost ranks in your organisation. Just 6 simple steps to follow, you can do it!