What makes an effective manager?
Is it the all pervading, all knowing, all encompassing, all loving manager? Well, you know that for real, such managers don’t exist. So how do you become a good manager? How do you become the manager that people look up to? Which is the best approach, the carrot or the stick? How do you handle conflicts within teams (intra and inter) ?
There are no clear answers in management. For the years I have spent managing teams I have come to the conclusion that there is no white and black in practically all the situations a manager has to face daily. Ironically the problems which hit you might more often than not would be linked to teams rather than the manager’s manager. This can be an article for any new leads, managers or people who are looking at managing teams in the future.
Managing teams is like balancing an egg, on your forehead. If you do a good job at it you would be able to make the cake and eat it too otherwise it would be the proverbial egg on the face which would haunt you internally within your company and externally when you face a low self-esteem due to the previous experience.
Every team and every entity that you manage would spring up some surprise or the other. The key for a manager is preparing himself for the same.
Learn the basics
Before joining a new team always check which competency, which framework, the vintage of the people, and the kind of work that they do. Learn as much as you can about the work that the team does. This helps in getting things done when you are able to delegate work based on competencies and capability.
Strategize per business needs
Understand what your manager and the business/client needs and align strategies accordingly. This makes it easier to cater to point no. 1. Additionally make it a point to review progress with your manager timely. This helps in your career growth and also visibility with the manager. This in turn also helps you in getting selected for key projects if you are able to perfect the art of showcasing your strengths in these regular sessions.
Integrate with the team
Every team has its share of talented, lack of any talent, aggressive go-getters, aggressive no-getters, job hoppers. Identify your people and the type they represent. Have periodic discussions with your team members to understand their aspirations and work on their career goals by either delegating the ‘networking’ responsibilities to specific team members and identify possible areas of realignment for the future.
Shout but don’t shout
Be assertive and aggressive but temper it with a layer of caution. Also understand that you would face the ‘players’ who do periodic RnR (resign and re-negotiate) sessions. Try and keep this to a bare minimum as such negativity can only impact the team and its morale in the long run.
Network to learn
And of course, last but not the least, network and learn. The importance of this can’t be stressed enough. Learning has to be an unending process. An enterprise with its myriad functions and responsibilities gives ample scope to explore new vistas and areas you never dreamt of excelling in. Networking helps you get to places reserved only for the ‘elite’…and then again you would Network!
These are some of the tips which would help you climb the career path faster. And yes, one more thing, be humble coz what you get today might be taken away from you tomorrow or the people that report into you today might become your manager someday
More about this later