May 2, 2020
How’s management going on? Great time?
While celebrating the first few instances of quick success let’s keep the odd addressed. There is a chance of people taking you easy. Your peers and other teammates have seen you reporting to the same boss they have done so far. And, there is a great possibility that you, the newly promoted manager also may take this lightly by thinking “time will change the situation”. I can tell you that this is going to be the worst mistake to offer for sure.
Magic or miracles happen in novels or movies, not in cut-in-the-neck project sites or in a corporate office – be it small or large. Every output in the project or corporate management is a product of subject knowledge, efficient planning, systematic thinking, confidence, courage, result orientation and people management – and surely not of a magic wand.
So here is the first step. Don’t let your subordinates to take you easy.
Don’t mistake me. I am not advising you to be rude with them, but telling to ensure that they do not think that you can be taken easily, essentially from day one.
Well, the question in your mind is loud. “How to not let them take me easy?” We will go through.
Action-1: Create standards.
Remember, you are a strong manager only if your standards are. Creating standards may include timely arriving at office, use of office facilities, duration of breaks, leaving early, approval of leaves, presence of employees in daily or weekly meetings, and even quantum of work to be delivered etc. Create them and do not compromise on them, unless there is a genuine, unavoidable reason.
Action-2: Be early.
The loud & simple message is, the bitter pill should be consumed in the initial phase of the illness. Be clear to all your employees at inception of your new responsibility or the new office about the standards you are going to follow and make it specific that deviations will not accepted whoever it is.
Action-3: Make sure that everybody knows about it.
As the top man in the office or the project team, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everybody working under you knows about the standards you have created. This is urgent to avoid any possible escape. The earlier you can inform all the better it is.
Action-4: Let work be the main priority.
Yes, disciplinary standards are important. But after letting all know those all is left is the work itself.
To stress upon the point to make work the main priority for everyone, break your project goal in to small periodic parts. That is, you must have a work planning for the total project which may be of one-year duration. Let it be broken in twelve parts with necessary weightage. The basic principle is that you must have a clear plan about the weekly or daily output required from your team people. Let everyone of them know the quantum.
Have reviews. Only if you do this periodically you will start gaining full control eventually over the team. You will be seen as not only a man of principle but a tough boss too who sees work as his first priority.
Review meetings must be for all the people and not for some particular heads in the team. Even if there is someone who is not directly related with the progress should have some set targets related to his or her role, and it must be reviewed.
Another point to ponder. Reviews should be done in a regular interval. If you decide to take weekly reviews make it weekly, and do not ignore it after few months and start monthly reviews. In cases of exigency the duration may be even less, e.g. twice weekly or more. Make it such automated that even if you cannot be present physically in some review (although it should be exceptions only) let it be conducted by your next command in the team and connect through video or audio conference, or at least, a short duration phone call during the review.
Action-5: Consider relaxations in special cases only.
Managers are not monsters and cases on humanitarian ground should be considered with a touch of humanity. But keep in mind always that these are exceptions only. Exceptions must not create any precedence with a potential to twist the standard you have already set.
Action-6: Use regular appraisal as a very useful tool.
When I am saying ‘regular appraisal’ I mean to say giving feedback to your team members through praising or scolding during the daily work schedules. These two are very useful weapons of your managerial kit.
Be tough, but not a spoilsport.
While I am telling you to be tough means be tough in issues related to work only.
Be a nice person outside the work. In a family get-together always greet the family members of your subordinates cheerfully and be nice to them. You can win an employee by just being nice and showing respect to their family members just as you would do for in case of your reporting senior. As a boss you will be admired and will be near their heart. Give it a try, it works.