Having the Right Personality to Manage


By

Dr. Sarveshwar Pande
Asst. Professor
SITM
Lucknow
 


Having the craving to manage won't guarantee your success in management. A confluence of many skills and talents is necessary, as well as a solid commitment to learn and grow. Rather than adhere to a mythical managerial mold, consider developing a style that fits your personality and strengths. An honest and thoughtful self-assessment will help prepare you for the challenges and demands intrinsic to management.

Ask yourself these

  • Am I a compelling communicator? The ability to effectively communicate is essential. Using strong, persuasive language during a staff meeting, for instance, lets people know that you're in control. A memo that's written succinctly and in the active voice will get someone's attention versus one that's wordy and unclear.
     
  • Do I easily embrace change? Being open to the benefits of change will help the people you manage be more accepting of what lies ahead. Patience, accepting ideas from subordinates, and a willingness to learn from mistakes all contribute to successfully embracing change.
     
  • Do I enjoy managing people? Excelling at project management means taking care of the work and the people involved. Staff reviews, workplace conflicts, and other numerous employee issues must be dealt with, often on a daily basis. But helping your people grow is a very rewarding part of managing.
     
  • Am I capable of managing negativity and fear in the workplace? It's tempting to want to hide when things aren't going smoothly, but it's a manager's job to maintain a steady presence no matter how rough the waters. Anticipating the negatives and being able to turn them into opportunities is a hallmark of successful management, as is developing the same abilities among members of your team.
     
  • Do I know how to build trust? Creating trust means more than simply telling the truth. Setting clear objectives, taking responsibility for mistakes, and creating an open forum for discussion are all good ways to build trust. Listening to good news and bad will also engender an atmosphere of trust.
     
  • Am I passionate and enthusiastic about my work? If you expect others to be excited about their work, then you must lead the way. Speaking with passion and purpose, assuring people of their value, and demonstrating real excitement are critical managerial characteristics.
     
  • Do I know how to properly praise and recognize? It's a manager's job to let people know when they're doing a good job. Minimize the emotion and maximize the use of powerful language -- say "Thank you for getting the report in on time" versus "I love how you completed that report."
     
  • Can I infuse fun into the workplace? Work and no fun isn't, well, fun. Don't underestimate the benefits of a little amusement in the workplace. Celebrate the completion of a project with an impromptu pizza party. Announce an early closing when people least expect it. Bring in a cake (and candles, too) on employee birthdays.
     
  • Do I have the necessary skills to hire and fire? Hiring the right people is a big job and can be fulfilling as well. Telling someone things aren't working out may be as appealing as getting a root canal, but handling personnel issues is a manager's responsibility. Ignoring a human resource issue won't make it go away. Indeed, it will probably only get worse.
     
  • Can I withstand the ups and downs of being a manager? Some days are better than others. Coping skills like patience, resilience, flexibility, and a clear notion of your objectives will help you handle the myriad challenges that typically occur in the workplace.
  • Recharge Your Passion for Leadership

    Leading a business is time-consuming, stressful, and demanding work, which can drain your excitement for the job and leave you frustrated and exhausted. Regardless of how much enthusiasm you had when first starting out, there eventually comes a point when the wear and tear of everyday worries begins to overshadow the passion you once had for your business. If you are feeling drained or uninspired, you may simply need a recharge. The good news is that in so doing, you may become more focused and effective than ever before.

    If you recognize that you are feeling burned out and no longer find excitement or joy in leading your business, the best thing you can do for yourself is to step away from it. Workaholics take note: It does no one any good for you to continue allowing yourself to grow increasingly unhappy or exhausted while explaining all the reasons you cannot take time off.

    In a fast-paced business environment, everyone needs time off to simply relax and refresh. This means stepping back from e-mail, voice mail, and having someone else cover those "in case of emergency" situations. A little physical — and mental — rest goes a long way, and this time apart from the daily grind of your business can be a big step toward regaining the vision you once had for your company.

    After you've had time to unwind and refresh, come back to work planning to evaluate and reflect on the current state of your business. Try to look at things from a fresh perspective and don't be afraid to enlist the help of your employees in doing so. In addition to looking for things that could be changed, consider if it is time to move the company in a new direction. This could mean anything from a shake-up in the business structure to tapping into a whole new market. Sometimes a fresh perspective will inspire you to pursue new challenges; however, be careful to make such decisions wisely. Don't make a change for the sake of change alone

    The key to recharging your excitement is finding that work-life balance that allows you to enjoy life outside of the business as well as the time you spend in the office, sleeves rolled up and hard at work. Going forward, be sure to get regular exercise, which will keep your energy levels higher and make you feel better about yourself. Take regular lunch breaks. Spend time with positive-minded people and outside friends who may have no connection to your business — they will help you to keep things in perspective. Such simple steps will help you to rejuvenate, and you will be less likely to wear out when the burdens of leading a business become overwhelming.

    Bring Out the Leader in Each Employee

    If you're a business owner with a team of employees, you are a business leader. Good leaders understand the link between happy and fulfilled employees and satisfied customers and clients. Your employees can be a goldmine of good ideas and creative energy, as well as your strongest resource, provided you empower them to be leaders themselves.

    Here are some ways you can bring out the leader in each of your employees:

  • Be an Encourager. Employees often have fresh ideas or suggestions, but may not voice those ideas because they don't feel their manager is interested in hearing what they have to say. Encourage your employees, regardless of their status within your business, to contribute their ideas. Even if you decide an employee's idea won't work, thank them for their suggestion and encourage them to continue suggesting new ideas.
     
  • Get Everyone Involved. Leaders who aggressively solicit ideas from their staff usually find that doing so improves morale, which in turn creates positive change within the business. Strive to foster a climate of openness within your business. Attempt to engage your employees in the innovation process, and reward them for their input with verbal thanks and positive encouragement along the way.
     
  • Get to Know Each Employee Personally. It's impossible to motivate employees without first getting to know them. Make a point of having a one-on-one meeting with each member of your staff. Once you start to gauge the strengths of each member of your team, you can help them develop leadership capacities that suit those strengths, as well as strategies to improve upon any possible weaknesses.
     
  • Reward Great Ideas. It's important to acknowledge and reward employees whose good ideas help lead to positive changes. You may consider establishing an award or giving a gift of recognition. Then, get out of the employee's way and let him or her lead the development opportunity (with your support).
     
  • Find Their Motivation. Learn to recognize what motivates each employee, and encourage those things in each of them. This will coax your employees to become leaders instead of followers. With a little perseverance, your team will begin to work collaboratively to lead the business to success.
     
  • Develop a Sense of Urgency. To make leaders out of your employees, each must believe that they have an urgent and worthwhile purpose within the organization. Establishing a sense of urgency and direction will help them know what your expectations are, and prompt them to take on a more meaningful role in the company today.
     
  • Keep Your Employees Informed. Praise your employees for what they're doing right, and inform them about what they could be doing better. Challenge each of them to be the best they can be. Keeping your staff informed will foster respect and help them better meet your combined goals.
     
  • Provide Positive Feedback. Reinforcement encourages employees to develop their skills to their maximum potential. Use your leadership tools — coaching, counseling, and mentoring — to help motivate them. And walk the walk as much as you talk the talk. Failing to lead by example can foster resentment and lead to low morale. Be sure to check out Do As I Do: How to Lead by Example for some helpful pointers.
     
  • Allocate Decision-Making Power. Empower your employees by giving them the ability (within reason) to make key decisions relating to their jobs and duties. The more faith and trust you place in them, the more likely they will be driven to succeed and to impress you.
  • The Dangers of Being a Micromanager

    You may wonder exactly why being a micromanager is bad for your business. On the surface, it seems wise to make sure that your staff is doing a good job, to pitch in and help with a project now and then. It seems to demonstrate a solid work ethic and set a good example for the team. What could be wrong with that?

    Well, if you're a manager, there's a lot wrong with that.

    Basically, micromanaging is involving yourself too directly in what your staff should be doing instead. By definition, a manager is tasked with — yes, you guessed it — managing. That involves coordinating projects, solving problems, dealing with other managers, and developing relationships with clients. The manager has to ensure that a certain quantity of work gets done, and normally that work is much more than one person could ever do alone. Therefore, the manager supervises a team of people to help them carry out that work.

    However, if a manager's time is consumed with micromanaging, there's no time for all the other managerial tasks on his or her plate. Quite simply, it is damaging to your business to micromanage. Here are some tips to keep in mind when tempted to manage to the nth degree:

    • There's more than one right way. As a supervisor, you need to prepare your employees to complete projects successfully, and to be clear from the beginning about the results you expect from them. Then you should stand back and let them carry out their designated tasks in the way they see fit, coming up with their own solutions. Remember that employees need to do things in a positive way, but not necessarily in the same way you would do them. This does not mean that communication is closed down — you still need to touch base from time to time, to see how projects are progressing, and to check if the person has any questions. But he or she needs freedom to work within an open framework, to learn and grow. The end result is a strengthening of your firm. There's no way your staff can develop and the firm can flourish if you are always there to meddle in the project and demonstrate the "correct" way to accomplish a task.
       
    • It's about trust. Your employees have to believe that you trust them to do a good job. But how can they do that if you're always hovering over their shoulders, diving in to rescue them from themselves? If it's inevitable that your staff's decisions will be second-guessed, they will begin to feel frustrated and powerless. In addition, your employees will learn that they will not be held accountable, and will soon stop trying to make any decisions at all.
       
    • If something's wrong, fix it. If you have an employee who is indeed constantly doing things incorrectly, it may be time to clean house and hire someone who can do the job properly. But first, see to it that your employees are fully trained and know everything they
       
    • need to know to do their jobs well. Be certain you're communicating the duties of the job clearly. Finally, keep in mind that some employees want to be micromanaged. Just as you need to stay out of their way, your staff needs to remember the importance of making decisions on their own.
       
    • Beware of burnout. If you insist on meddling in a project, creating frustration and lack of accountability in your employees, and still attempt to shoulder all your other managerial responsibilities, you're going to get tired. Really tired. And eventually, tiredness will progress to exhaustion and complete burnout. At which point, you won't care about micromanaging anymore. But at that point, of course, it will be too late. Don't let events progress to that point

    The bottom line: a good manager is one who prepares, and then trusts employees, remembers that he or she is part of a team, and leads by example, not by doing everyone else's work. Your staff will appreciate your efforts, and will feel a greater sense of personal accomplishment. And in the end, your business will thrive.

    Manage Without Buzzwords

    Utilizing result-driven verbal communication can steer a company and its leader toward an undefined paradigm. In other words, using buzzwords like the ones in the preceding sentence won't make you a better manager.

    Instead of padding your language with unnecessary and often meaningless words and phrases (i.e., "globalize," "push the envelope," "intellectual capital," "core competency"), consider ways that will help you speak

    and write with more clarity and less jargon. By communicating more clearly you give your employees, customers, and prospective customers a reason to listen. And in today's crowded and competitive marketplace, getting someone's attention is key.

    Here are 10 proven strategies that will help you break the buzzword habit:

    • Stop pretending. Some people use jargon (vs. real words) to sound intelligent. This works up to a point, but eventually somebody figures it out. Like the boy who announces that the emperor has no clothes, it only takes one person -- though hopefully not a customer -- to recognize that buzzwords do little more than inflate plain-sounding facts.
       
    • Be brave. Just because everyone else is "thinking outside the box" doesn't mean you have to join in. Show some courage by putting a moratorium on the use of buzzwords. Eventually, clarity will take over and become the norm.
       
    • Speak (and write) by example. Show your employees how to talk clearly by minimizing your reliance on buzzwords in communication to your managers. Resist using phrases like "strategic fit," "out of the loop," "24/7," "redeployed people," "brain dump," and "core competencies."
       
    • Monitor and beware of the clear-speaking competitor. If you're not careful, a competitor that uses clear and plain language to describe its products and services and why they are important may muscle its way into your territory. Once you lose your spot it's not easy to get it back.
       
    • Jargon-proof your products and services. Minimize your use of buzzwords in product literature and you'll lower the number of support calls from customers. Rereading something you don't understand wastes time. Don't waste your customers' time by making it harder to figure out exactly what your products do and how they make life easier.
       
    • Don't forget the customer. As you practice using jargon-free language among your staff, do the same in your direct communication with customers. They'll notice the change and may adopt their own moratorium on buzzwords.
       
    • Avoid clichés. If it's trite or overused, it's probably a cliché and should be avoided. Clichés lose their meaning, which ultimately turns them into buzzwords. Consider phrases like these forbidden and outlawed: "when push comes to shove," "feel the pinch," "fit to be tied," "bend over backwards," "nuts and bolts," "blaze a trail," and so forth.
       
    • Don't use $60 words. "Utilize" may sound more important than "use," but it's clunky, pretentious, and one of the most offensive buzzwords around. Big words are not equivalent to smart words. Keep it simple: the less syllables the better.
       
    • Find an editor. Have a trusted colleague or employee review your written communication to make sure it's free of buzzwords and jargon. Using an employee as an editor will also help to cascade down to your team the importance of not relying on buzzwords to communicate.
       
    • Establish a "buzzword kitty." Each time you or an employee use a buzzword, throw a quarter in the company kitty. At the end of the month buy a case of alphabet soup or, better yet, donate your collection to a local literacy fund. It will be a good reminder that buzzwords can be costly

    References

    Charles, " Managing in a Dynamic Environment", Prentice Hall, 8th Edition, 2006, pp56-79.

    Taylor, R. "Journal of Managerial Research ", Vol 2, Wiley Publishings, 2005, pp 2-38.
     


    Dr. Sarveshwar Pande
    Asst. Professor
    SITM
    Lucknow
     

    Source: E-mail March 31, 2008

              

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