Every professional assignment helps a person sharpen his / her skills. You just don’t perform the regular job specific activities but you also bring difference to the ecosystem around. As a manager the task becomes equally challenging, as you are looked up by your team members. The pressure on a manager is both from the organization’s and team’s side. This tricky situation either brings the best of the manager or he/she crumbles to the situation.
I had a very memorable time with my team at AdGlobal360. When I joined the organization, team consisted of six members and when I left the organization, the team grew to a size of 12. This bunch of youngsters gave me an enormous opportunity to fine tune my managerial skills. Here, are few things that I learnt from my awesome team, which we named as ‘Social Species’.
1. Lead from the front: As a manager it is the most basic requirement. You should be thorough with the subject knowledge, remain updated about the industry you are in and constantly be a source of information and inspiration for the team. You should set such an example that your team members not only perform better, but also remain glued to their job responsibilities.
2. Ensure coherence within the team: We all have heard about the farmer and his son’s story while we were kids. A good team can meet all targets only if there is coherence within the team. It is very true that not all team members would be equally competitive, but trick lies with manager on how to leverage the individual skills with the overall team objective in mind.
3. Manage Inter team conflicts: It is very common that inter-team conflict arise in most organizations due to the individual department’s objectives. However, as a manager you should not be biased towards your team’s objectives but should keep overall organization’s objective in mind. As a manager you should build a congenial environment where your team members understand the requirements of other team members and work in tandem.
4. Pre-empt crisis situation and prepare your team: In this hyper competitive work environment it is very common that your team might face crisis situation. Many a times these crises may not be predictable, but it all depends on the experiences and your far-sightedness. As a manager try to pre-empt the crisis and prepare your team towards that direction. You may not convey the exact crisis situation, as they might get tensed, but absorb the pressure and prepare your team to handle the situation in the best manner.
5. Own all mistakes & pass all accolades: Now, this is very tough to do. But, somehow I felt it really works well if you can really put it to practice. God forbid, if your team member has done some mistake, you as a manager should own responsibility and face the higher authority. But, at the same time you should convey the extent of mistake to the team member and make them understand. On the other hand, do not try to claim accolades that your team members have earned. Pass it on to them, bring them to the front and I assure you will see a marked difference in their attitude towards the job and team.
6. Manage the bad kid on the block: You as a manager just can’t expect all your team members to be sincere, disciplined and committed. In most cases you will find one or two kids who would be nightmares for you. But, you can’t ignore that person. The trick lies in carrying that person along. With your sustained efforts to improve that person, you may hope that one day he/she would convert into an asset than liability.
7. Don’t shy to take a stick: Well, you need not be the ‘goody-goody’ boss all the time. Do not shy to take a stick if the situation demands it. Well, its a popular saying that clay needs to be tapped to bring them in best shapes. However, do not scold or scream on the team members in front of all. After all you shouldn’t be perceived as ‘Bad Daddy’.
8. Balance work & fun: If you are a manager doesn’t mean that you should roam around with a poker face. Be the jovial person with your team but also ensure that work doesn’t get affected. If you are lucky (as I was) you would find couple of ‘jokers’ in our team and they set the mood of the team. Do not curb them (of course you need to if they cross the limits) and let them do the honours of maintaining a fun environment.
9. Believe in your team more than yourself: Now, many of you might not agree to this point. However, it has worked with me. As a manager, I was believed in my team more than myself. I was confident that the task assigned to my team can be accomplished with the talent I had in my team. Let any crisis situation arise or a brainstorming session, I had belief that my team members won’t let me down and thankfully they never did. This particular learning may differ with respect to the individual personality you possess.
10. Always stand by your team and not the management: Another highly debatable and contextual learning. I am sure many of you might disagree with me. But, this was another point (apart from the point no. 9) where I believed in this and adopted it during my tenure. There might be situations where your top management might be bothered only you and not your team. A very naive example could be inviting you for a Diwali party and ignoring your team members. Well, some managers might see this as an opportunity to network with top management, but I see (may I am wrong) this situation were top management wants to take you hostile. If the situation demands a celebration, why not do it with entire organization, may be at a reduced scale, rather than lavish party for 10 managers in the organization. There could be a situation where you might have to favour the well-being of your team, because those kids look up to you. So, I don’t give ‘a particular’ advice on this point. I stood by my team and found it satisfactory. Rest depends on your ethics , personality and situation you are in.
These are not exhaustive pointers for a budding manager. I am sure there might be many more that you would learn from your first hand experience.
I dedicate this blogpost to my dear team members, who have been more than just my team members – Kundan, Anadi, Sumit, Mohit, Aakriti, Arunita, Prashant, Pooja, Gagan, Portia, Ankur, Tanu, Barkha, Shikha. I thank you all for an amazing period we had together.