In the second part of the three-part article on the challenges of middle level managers, Bangalore-based HR professional, Preeyan, tells us about some of the key practices to help manage a team. Read more for invaluable suggestions, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Last week, we saw how we have it in us to stay balanced, how knowing your team gets you to manage them better and your attitude of being positive and keeping the team first will lead you to accomplish tasks better.
This week we will look at some key practices that will help in managing a team.
It is one of the most important traits a manager develops, in your case, it’s not about managing your time alone, it is about managing the time of the team. Keep notes, set calendar and reminders, keep a wide view of what each individual needs to do and get it done, review and reallocate where required. Three main things about time management most people forget is to 1) segregate work, 2) set timelines & review schedules 3) communicate (keep people informed and on the toes)
Once time is managed well, you will be aware of who can do what makes it easier to plan and delegate. The key here is to have someone to be the timekeeper of the team, could be you or you may delegate and make sure that that person has enough time to check the status of jobs or tasks and report to the entire team.
Keep the communication within the team simple and clear so that the team is aware of where they stand.
To manage time, you need to understand that you will need to orchestrate the timing of the deliveries of the team, which means like the conductor of an orchestra, who keeps the time of each individual musician to play his bit to form a masterpiece, you need to keep an eye on the delivery and keep track of each individual’s progress.
Under Commit and Over Perform
Most new managers end up in a mess because they overcommit timelines because of their enthusiasm. Once or twice you may get away with it, but that will cost heavy in the form of attrition in your team or you not being able to contain a revolt. You are best aware of how soon a task can get accomplished with your team, seek what is the expectation from the organisation/client and then commit the timelines post discussion with key members of your team. That way you will keep some time for yourself and commit and will try to accomplish the task well within accepted timelines.
Trust me this has always worked.
Every now and then you need to do unscheduled work reviews with each teammate one on one. This way there is no preparation and there is always the chance of identifying true issues to make up prepared ones. You will also have a chance to pull up the weak performers and motivate them to do better.
You need to also have reviews which are scheduled and part of a routine as per organisational needs or as per your standard you set. Most organisations have this kind of a review every quarterly or half yearly. This will help in getting your assessments of the competencies of the team and assessing gaps.
Keep your reviews as positive as possible, but where you may have to stay stern you should and not be soft. This may not help you and is definitely not helping the person who you are trying to be nice to when you need to actually pull him up on some case. When I say stern, it does not mean aggression but assertion. These are two words every management class always talks about. It is here you put it into practice.
This is a common term used in sales called as handling objections, in sales it is about a customer raising an objection to the product you are trying to sell and comparing it with a competitive product. Similarly, here it is your team member who is objecting to what you have to say and comparing it to what another manager said or did. As a good manager, you will listen to the objection carefully and understand the objection before you reply or take a stand. You will realise that by resisting an objection you will only lower the moral of the person raising the objection and not achieve what you want to the way you want to. So, you need to be able to justify your standpoint. As a good manager, you should be able to rationally explain why you have taken a choice or of that view. These objections can be viewed negatively by most people, but I would suggest that they are building blocks of constructive arguments and will lead to a solution that will be best suited for the situation.
A constructive argument is where you argue about solutions to a problem than arguing about the cause of the problem. It’s a thin line, but most people always end up taking the wrong end of the line and waste time on an argument that will not bring about a solution and will only worsen the situation for you.
Encourage your team to get into such arguments, as the result of it will be the collaborative best you can deliver. This is what will also strengthen the team further and make you an outstanding manager.
You are leading by example and are getting better at this. The fact that you are in this position is because you displayed competencies that is required for your job, pay attention to what is required and keep it at it.
Until next week keep these things in mind and do well.
[To be continued]
Photos from the internet.
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