The recent HR Summit and Expo 2014 inspired me to look at both sides of the story when it comes to management and leadership. We all start somewhere and we all are being managed in one way or another. Good or bad experiences impact the way we work and the way we feel about the work we do. After all, people don’t leave organisations, they leave their managers. With a good experience of being managed by several types of managers, and some experience in managing people, here are 6 tips for managers out there, who think “I am the boss and there are only two opinions: right and mine”.
- We all do the things we want to. However, not everything we are assigned to do at work is what we really want to do. Different people have different objectives; some perform for recognition, some for the growth they want to achieve, some want to impress someone and some just want to take it easy and get their pay cheque by the end of the month. As a manager you have to understand what your team’s performance is driven by and to find the way to motivate them.
- Building the right team is the only way forward. Choosing the best people from the start will make it easier to perform, improve and excel. It is always a manager’s responsibility to choose the right person for the job. And it doesn’t only apply on hiring or selecting people to be part of your team, it applies to what tasks you assign to within the team you already have, too. Understand strengths and weaknesses within your team and don’t expect a great result if you assigned the wrong task to the wrong team member.
- Be a Leader, not only a Manager. You motivated your team, you selected right people for the right job, what else? You have to guide. Nobody is a psychic, unless you are watching a lot of Chris Angel shows and believe otherwise. The best outcome is achieved when you offer proper guidance and explain well enough what needs to be done. The worst thing manager can do is to throw the task at your team without the guidance needed and show the frustration because results are not meeting your expectations. Regular trainings will also do the magic.
- Work on your ego and choose to be wise, not a coward. If you are determined to be the leader, you need to opt for the success of your team, not your only way to shine and be the best of the best. Being a manager comes with a certain level of responsibility, it’s not your ticket to self-glorification. If you are scared that your team members will outshine you, you are doing it wrong, because if they perform well it is you who to thank, if they do not perform well, sadly it will be you who to blame. A good leader will inspire and celebrate the success of the team.
- Balancing the “carrot and stick” – behavior. Don’t become a workplace bully, but know the limit of your kindness. Remember what your work is as a manager. You are one of the links towards your company’s success, and you need to manage the expectations. There is a right way to reinforce your authority, and if you are doing all above mentioned, respect and self-conscious attitude towards assigned tasks to your team will come by default, no need to threaten or punish to get the results you expect.
- Last but not the least, don’t focus so hard on your people that you forget about yourself. Identify the areas in which you are weak and improve them. The fact that you are reading this blog post shows you understand the concept. Now you only need to put it into practice.
I never chose PR as a profession. In a way it chose me.
I started my career as a journalist. Armed with a journalism degree, I was one among the many with shiny dreams, twinkling eyes and hopes of changing the world. I wrote many stories: some full of masala and glitz; some candy floss and bubblegum ones, and of course some sensitive and powerful human interest stories. (My favorite among them was a story of a wheel chair bound artist who painted with her feet as she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. She was full of life and energy, easily one of the most positive people that I had ever met or interviewed.)
None of my stories, I hasten to add and admit quite frankly, has made the world a better place but it did add immense value to my perspective on life.
My stories were my silent teachers and my stints at various newspapers and magazines even greater ones. Even as I hopped from publication to publication, handling a variety of roles — from making pages to reporting to editing, never did I once think that I was inadvertently carving a path towards my future profession.
In hindsight, however, the blueprint of my future career path seems evident.
My first job was as a sub editor at a reputed daily in India. There, within a short span of time, I learned what was also to be one of the cardinal rules of PR: delivering on deadline and ensuring that your work fits well into your client’s deliverables. I also became proactive and thought of alternative story ideas in case I got a whiff that a story was unlikely to materialize. It was with this solid work ethic and commitment of seeing things through that I embarked on my next job: a reporter at an established tabloid. My role there was diametrically opposite to my previous job. I was on the field, interacting with people across all strata of society on a daily basis, developing my ‘sources’ and scoping for news worthy stories. This role’s similarity to that of a PR professional’s role seems almost uncanny. At this job, I learnt to be a listener, write stories in a structured manner and develop relationships alongside cultivating the ability to be inquisitive, ask questions and challenge the status quo that would in turn augment the value of the final product. In return, I got happy ‘clients’ (readers) and their trust and belief in my ability to communicate their stories.
By the time I was an editorial consultant of a supplement of a leading newspaper in India, I was more than a mere reporter or editor. I had begun to envision the larger picture, and intuitively know what my readers would like to read. In order to execute this vision, my team and I would hold regular meetings with our readers, understand their viewpoints, suggestions and create a list of story ideas that would then be carried out by a team of freelance writers. I, along with my colleagues, was involved in the entire production and working of the supplement.
Looking back today, each role I undertook in every newspaper and publishing house contained a nugget of wisdom that comes tremendously in handy for my current PR role. I am able to fit in and utilize all the skills that I acquired during my journalism days. And if I wanted to be a wee bit dramatic I could declare with febrile enthusiasm that PR is eventually where I am meant to be and that I am more than chuffed to be here. As passion, drama, undying zest goes with the territory, I could be forgiven, perhaps. What say?