Archive for February 5th, 2013

Top 10 Managing People Tips February 5th, 2013

Vinod Kumar

Every new year brings new hopes. In the professional world, this is no different. We see people given promotion into a management role from a technical role. Whether you like it or not it is a never ending tunnel where you need to find your own way. You never get to learn swimming if you never jumped inside a pool. Managing people is an art, you are taught some, you learn some from experience and you inherit some by seeing people and finally, you see people to avoid doing something. The world of managing people is subjective and keeping people happy is one of the main task of any potential manager / lead. Let me call out some of the tips that come to my mind when you get into this new role. I am sure you can add more to this list.

It is important to understand that all managers don’t have a MBA and not all MBA people make great managers. Read more about Situational Leadership or better get a book on the same. Just reading doesn’t help, implementing the same takes time, energy and patience.

1. Know your new job

Understand, promotions mean it is a new job and new responsibilities to grab. You might be the best technical resource till date but now you are a manager. Since this is a familiar environment, know how to transition into this new role slowly by learning from people around you. Make sure you get confidence of all as you transition into this new role.

The most important task here to know your people. Spend time with each and every person to know their job, career aspirations and development goals, dreams, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and more. People are your assets when you become a manager.

2. Learn to listen

If you come from a technical background then our mind is full of logical solutions. Whenever we look for solutions, we forget to get all facts on the table. One of the important trait I would suggest is to listen the other person.

Shift your focus from how to what. Get to the bottom of the problem. Learn to ask why but be reasonable in this step :). Sometimes you need to know the why as it is being proposed.

3. Manager or A Friend?

A transition from a friend to boss is the most difficult step. This transition is not black and white. Be very careful in drawing a line else it can create other problems. You will be perceived of favoritism and biased person. You will be emotionally attached to one employee and more trouble follows. As a friend the expectations must be kept aside while comparing the same as manager.

4. Command respect and treat with respect

As a manager it is important to command respect based on your behavior. Don’t show-off that you are the boss. Be in control of the situation. Treat each and every person with the respect they deserve. Keep your personal opinions aside and work on this.

5. Be available, visible and approachable

An important trait of an effective manager is to be approachable. Don’t try to box yourself and hidden inside a den of your own. Be a manager people love to hang around with. Don’t be the person where the employees never get to see you.

6. Be the role model leader

Show people how things are done. Be a leader in your activities. Don’t take it lightly. This is a rewarding responsibility one needs to take up. Work on your technical skills and take informed intelligent decisions.

7. Accept, no one is perfect

Don’t try to be the perfect person. Go with the flow and learn on the job. Making mistakes are part of the job, get used to them. Learn from them and avoid repeating mistakes.

Try to be yourself – don’t try to mimic the previous manager. You have your freedom to bring the change you wanted when you were a team member.

From the employees stand-point this holds true too. Don’t try to bring your employees down. People make mistakes too, guide them, hand hold them through.

8. Ask the right questions

Create an environment where the decisions are taken as a team. All understand the pitfalls and advantages of the decision. Though there are disagreements, rally the team to commit end of the discussion / meeting. Be the moderator and get opinion from all.

Be clear on the expectations from the team. Also understand that expectations is a two way street and we need to live upto the expectation of our team too.

Get inputs from everyone asking – “What do you think?”. Help people to open up their views. Be the person who brings the team together. When you see a garland the flowers are beautiful. But the most important part is the string that holds it. So be the string that holds your team together even though you might not be seen. Reward them for airing their thoughts and encourage such behavior.

9. Once a leader, always a leader

Once a manager, it is a 24×7 role that we have taken. We are a role model to our team members. It is not a 8AM-5PM work that we are doing. You are a role model and you set standards for others to follow. Be careful how you behave with team members after office when you meet them outside too. Be a true leader people want to work with.

10. Know your management

This is a new dimension you will enter into. Know what is the expectation of management. Translate, consume the info and make sure you make the team successful end of the day. It is a tough to satisfy everyone. Be bold when you need to be, protect your team when you need to, project your team when they need the attention etc. It is a tough job and know what you are getting into !!!


Finally, want to say these are my top 10 advices when it comes to moving into manager role. Managers are not leaders and great leaders may not be good managers. So understand how you will manage, juggle resources and get the best out of them. Motivate the people around you and take them along as you move. Learning is a journey we need to take as team.

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