Bangalore-based HR professional, Preeyan, tells us what it takes for the middle-level managers to keep their jobs, in a three-part series. In the first part, he tells us the value of balance for themselves and knowing and prioritising the team. Read more in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Welcome again, in this week’s column I would like to address those who have moved up in their jobs, established their names as ‘contributors’ and have got elevated to a position of handling a team. It is at this level that most organisations mess up and most people get messed up. Not handled well, we may end up losing jobs or lose interest to continue in the job.
We are the ones facing the fire, almost always. We form the frontline of the battlefield. If you realise the organisation is like a chess board. The pawns are individual teams of the infantry and not a single person. And the middle managers are the lieutenants and captains of the infantry. You are in a dicey position and most people end up jumping jobs during this phase and some even slip back. Though time will teach its lessons, it is important to know that there are a few things you can do now than learning later.
The sudden change from ‘taking orders and delivering’ to ‘taking orders and delegating and orchestrating tasks’. Dealing with attitudes, dealing with peers who were teammates earlier and subordinates, now. Fresh talents who are ignorant and need to be hand-held through their work and multitude of other issues that we have never faced. This can get overwhelming, but it is here that we can make a difference in our lives and set up a path ahead, which you will not regret having taken.
At this level, it is important for you to stay focused on growth. Pressures of earning more, having a family, settling down, work – life balance and a host of other personal issues also tend to pop up during this phase of your career. You will be lucky to have a boss who empathises with you and grooms you to take on the next level. Most times you are made to jump in the deep end and expected to survive on your own.
The danger is that you get burned out fast. Everyone has a limit for shining bright, once that limit is exceeded burnout happens. What I want you to understand are the few things that will help you build on your strengths that will help you last longer than what normal person can do. Most of you already know this, I am only helping you realise what strength you have within you.
If you realise, there are some things that you do in life which makes you feel a completely different person. Those are usually things that make you happy. Happiness is a state of mind, you choose to be happy or sad. Though there will be external factors that affect it, how much you let it affect you is in your control.
You need to be a completely different person at work. Keep personal and professional matters at the maximum possible level of disconnect. This is called work – life balance. It’s a very thin line we straddle, but an amazing journey if you do it well.
You need to practice being patient, adaptive and dedicated at work. Draw a line between Personal and professional self and strive to stick to your principles.
You will find happiness when work gets done and you are able to manage everything well at work. Pay attention and be present for your personal life as well. It is a time when people may start to perceive you to be a workaholic, but that’s life, you will have to go through it to make a path of your own.
Try not to take work home, finish work at your workplace and get home, this I say because it takes longer for you to finish a job from home than when you are at work.
If you are a short-tempered person, work on managing anger. If you are a restless person, learn to relax. If you are someone who likes to do things by yourself learn to delegate it to someone and lead by example. My boss has always been an advocate to this, with time I realised what it is to lead by example. The realisation occurs when you set standards for simple things like work etiquette, reaching office on time, maintaining a to-do list, keeping time, attending calls and treating people with respect. All of it forms a balance in you that will take you places.
Know Your Team
Every individual is different, each of them has positives and negatives, as a manager, it is your job to ensure that you make good of all the positives you can find, train people on overcoming their negatives and guide them to improving competencies. Give them all the help you can that you may not have got at that level.
Know every teammate by name, spend quality time with them. The way you can build this is by indulging in activities that will get you to know the team better. If you know your team, they will start to look at you with a whole different respect. You will become their role model and they will want to learn from you.
Team Always Comes First
Work with each individual the way you used to when you were in their position. They will learn faster and prove to become more efficient. Delegate jobs in such a way that it suits the person in your team, and remember you are always there to back up anyone in the team. Give credit to people who have accomplished something. Most of the time the credit will come to you or you may be tempted to take credit for something but think about the motivation the teammate will get when he gets credit or recognition for something that has been accomplished.
Your attitude towards the team will be directly proportional to the outcome you are able to deliver. The team will do their work, basis their manager’s attitude and attributes than because of their fear of losing the job or the fear of the manager. Motivation always works better than threats. Be positive always and that will rub on to the rest of the team and you will always be able to get positive results.
Stay balanced, know your people and keep the team ahead of personal agenda.
You are on the right path and you will go places and be recognised.
Look forward to more in the next part of this write-up. Keep your balance until then.
[To be continued]
Photos from the internet.
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Preeyan Abraham is a HR professional. He loves travelling and all the little intricacies that it brings. A foodie, he enjoys cooking for relaxation. A movie buff and music lover, he appreciates simple things in life. He comes from a mix of religious backgrounds that has helped him appreciate all the good things of what all religions have to see. He looks at life as a platform created to perform and give the best.