01 Dec Role of Managers in these Uncertain Times
We are in uncertain times and progress alone guarantees survival. So everyone in the industry is vying in their strivings for survival. Now it’s up to the leaders and managers to ensure continuity of business and a flourishing future. Leaders may take major decisions but it’s up to the managers to ascertain its fulfillment through smart management of resources and leadership qualities. Hence, the role of managers during such times becomes even more amplified. This article will help you understand managerial roles during these erratic times.
Building a Team
An innovative, analytical, focused, and result oriented team is the basis of progress in any organization and a source of pride to their managers. It’s solely a manager’s responsibility to pool together the right talents and put them to work in the most optimum manner to yield the desired results. Just bringing them together is not enough but forging a healthy rapport between the members and also with the members is crucial. So if you are a manager, you need to take the initiative to make each member feel united, comfortable, and happy within their assigned role and team. During a crisis, these very qualities of a team make the transition to the firefighting mode smoother. It’s easier to break a brick than an entire wall of thoroughly cemented strong bricks!
Being the basis of all interactions, no role is complete without communication. Managers, you have to be more generous in your communication with your team. Every minor change should be communicated with clarity to your team members. This ensures that everyone is on the same page as you and when you sense an upcoming crisis or any organizational change, you have to acknowledge the situation and inform the same transparently so that your team members can start thinking and acting on similar lines to achieve the same goal in real-time. There is no crisis management without effective communication. Hence, it’s your duty to eliminate miscommunications to the best of your ability.
Managers are also leaders and you have to lead by engaging with your followers. The best way to engage is by giving your team members enough power in decision-making processes, valuing their opinions, and discussing them though the final verdict will be yours to pass with the approval of your team. This will put you on a respectable pedestal where you are valued for your role. Also, engage in frequent team meetings not just to discuss work but also to promote camaraderie and unity between and with team members. Honesty and consistency are two traits that employees always look out for in their managers. And being treated as an insider is a bonus so you can get an inside scoop on things easily; including feedback on your own performance. Isn’t it the best way to know where you stand in the minds of your team members?
I have noted that many employees reach a stage where they start feeling disillusioned or directionless owing to an occurrence that might have left a bitter aftertaste or simply boredom. You have to always be on the alert for such symptoms in your team members. Take initiative to periodically assess member contributions to the team on a one-on-one basis to understand their reasons for any shortcomings and how you can help them articulate their thoughts to improve on it. You can share inputs, suggest training or minor role change to provide the much-needed direction. Simply put, you have to mentor each member of your team to keep them aligned with the evolving goals and values that form the bigger picture.
Managers, you have a job to do, so nothing wrong with being a tough taskmaster. Always encourage good work with one-on-one and public appreciations while also being strict with those who have failed to deliver. Being strict does not mean being harsh; you have to cultivate your own brand of communication to clearly communicate your approval or disapproval. For example, you don’t say “I am disappointed with your work” you rather say “Your last work was exceptional, let’s rework to that end and I am here if you need anything.” This singular quality can be your backbone during hard times and elevate you to new heights.
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
It’s a good practice to stay connected with your team member’s personal struggles. This practice is a part of compassionate leadership skills. Encourage them to share certain personal issues that they wouldn’t mind sharing which usually affects their productivity. This way, you understand your team members in a better light. Mindset evaluation is an extension of mentoring and employee engagement. And do not underestimate its gravity. It is common knowledge how much the personal struggles affect careers. You want your team members to come with a composed and peaceful mind to work.
Your position demands that you work in a highly political environment without compromising your integrity. However difficult it may seem, you must remember that you can influence change for the betterment of the business or employees. Great influences have brought down greater barriers in the past. Influencers are mediums to change. And the industry needs strong influencers to bring in a sense of single-mindedness in an ever-changing ecosystem.
Managers, you have an even bigger role to play in the context of influencing change. You have to perpetually be on the lookout for new trends in business and other goings-on in the world to usher in those changes into your organization which will open doors to many prospective opportunities. And to do this, you have to expand your network. Larger the network, the greater the prospects!
‘The Arrogant Elephant and the Ant’ is a story I have slightly tweaked to suit the context. It’s a story of an arrogant elephant that troubled the ants living peacefully under the care of their queen nearby. It tried to trample their anthill and spray water with its trunk. So what did the queen ant do? She hatched a plan and directed her colony of ants to climb up the trunk of that elephant while asleep and bite hard. The elephant trumpeted with pain and begged to be left alone, but only after promising to never hurt again did the queen ant call back her army.
It simply means no matter the size of the problem, a united and efficient team helmed by a dynamic manager will know where, when, and how to strike down a problem and emerge as winners.