Monday, January 4, 2010

How to be a good manager? Top tips and methods which makes you a great and effective manager.

Establish regular team and one-on-one discussions: In my opinion and experience, this is one of the most powerful tools of a manager, whether you handling senior managers in your team or a virtual teammate or a fresher - to build trust worthy teams. As a manager you can understand, support and enable the team member through this and give a secure feeling to him/her, that you are available and have the understanding of his/her situation. You create a motivating atmosphere and can leverage the rapport through this meeting, to effectively plan actions, lead, control and help the team grow. Even in agile teams, I have experienced that this is the key for effective resource management. You aim to achieve the following:
  • support vital social and essential qualities for team members - status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness.
  • set and track clear performance expectations and key result area
  • clear understanding of situation, attitude and perspective to help and support
Know your job well and be hands on, for effective decision making: This will command respect among your team members and colleagues which inturn help you make inspiring decisions.

360 degree and prompt constructive feedbacks: Regular feedbacks from your individual team members and from your team discussions act as a mirror and this experience and learning will serve to make a good manager great! This is true, however experienced a manager you are!

Expect Ingratitude:A manager is the one who serves his team and leads the circle of influence to excel.Do it as your duty to help and be available to your team members and to get the best of them.If someone say thank you, appreciate it gracefully.If someone doesnot realise it and do crib or harm you or your team, the policy of expecting ingratitude by default will help you detached and in good stead to take correct decisions.

Effective listening skills: Know when to talk and when to listen. This basic art of communication helps you in control, motivate and inspire people which gives you results and approachable. Some team members will be very emotional, some very straightforward and precise - each one looks for something

Agree on team norms and enable self organising team members: Any game can be played with multiple team members, only with a set of agreed rules and an understanding of results.So, brainstorm and create a team charter, before you start working together.Equal opportunity, treating teammembers fairly etc will be part of this and will be instituitionalises through the regular feedback sessions!

Be strategic: Management is the fine art of leading and guiding, not ordering and commanding.

Know the tradeoffs in recruiting right people for the job: Recruiting a rigt person for the role and assigning suitable responsibilities, makes your job well done.As a rookie manager, once I got the opportunity to form a core telecom engineering team and then I was cautioned by a colleague to recruit keeping in mind the final ratings - he said so, inorder to have a happy team for the long term. However, I decided to go ahead and recruit a team of experts and created a high performing team, well aware of the tradeoff.In the short term, needed to put ina lot of effort to handle pay and rewards related issues, but can tell you proudly that it was a better choice in the long term.

Challenge your team members positively to attain higher targets, out of their comfort zone: This will help them, bring Do this in a consultative fashion, wherever possible.

Performance management - Praise in public and reprimand in private: Give prompt and constructive feedback with sincerity and on a matured fashion- this will help them grow.Also doing this with simple commonsense, will keep the teammember in knowing of their performance and avoid issues on annual appraisal cycle.

Enable and work on effective delegation: I am a strong believer of Pareto' 80-20 rule. Be aware of this and Focus your energies on the key result areas.Effective delegation after enabling the right people, will help them grow and secure by giving them individual growth space and freedom.Be responsible for the job to track results to closure - If a wrong person on the job, you need to micro manage to ensure results and hence the secret lies in delegating to the right person - who is passionate, has the required skills, accountability, ethical and do prompt reporting of foreseen risks.Other people will keep wondering how you manage to achieve so many things at a time and help your team and team members grow!

Value add to yourself and team: Learn to make effective and ethical decisions, as if it is your own business - without being hands on, many great managers turned to good and then to worthless - as I have observed in work with international and multicultural teams. If required, its good once in a while to switch jobs or takeup tasks just out of line management and focus on valued added experiences.This will keep you get diverse experiences and help you job worthy!

Be Passionate and Creative: Often think for yourself, your team and this will help you achieve more. this is the key to effective planning, tracking and leading with a vision.

Work-life balance and fitness - Be happy, energetic and relaxed: Unless you are, you cannot make your teammembers happy. And believe me, the leaders or managers mood is highly contagious! Take your time off to have effective work-life balance.Be calm, cool and collected. Be fit and relaxed when you come to work.Donot count working hours but results - Trust and allow teammembers to plan their leaves with accountability for their assignments in hand.

Be humorous and create a fun environment: This is contagious.Teammembers should look forward to come to work everyday morning! Achieve this by making each of them secure, encourage humour in uniform by organize fun activities, recruiting the right mix of people, promptly celebrating team achievements, birthdays, team outing etc.

Hope these experiences and insights will beof help to you.Do share in your opinions and experiences.

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