Workplace Management Tips-v3
With the beginning of the Knowledge Revolution, unlike its predecessor, the Industrial revolution, the role of people forming an Organisation has changed. The Factory Supervisor was an individual who may have been a worker and then promoted to a supervisory role. And therefore, knew exactly what the worker had to do, during his clocked-in hours.
With the Knowledge Revolution, it can seem that there is a paradigm shift. Many leaders and experts have shared their views on hierarchies and their value. It is now more real then earlier when people across organisations say ‘I am an Individual Contributor, and I don’t need a Manager’.
While this may be so for many driven professionals who find passion in their work, one often finds themselves not able to crack through a problem. With methods like Agile Practices embraced by fast paced organisations, people have to constantly change.
Translating that ‘change’, into ‘action’ means that an employee may need to re-do a piece of code completed yesterday, as newer research have emerged in the meanwhile. Therefore, it becomes the Manager’s responsibility to constantly steer the team through these changes.
And this is where often one hears employees say that there is new learning, growth at a pace that they have never experienced before, etc. While this is so, a Manager must recognise that change means that the employee needs to constantly move in the same direction, as you.
Tips for Managers to help employees adapt to the New Normal
As a Manager steering your project to places that you want it to go, here are some thoughts:
- Take time to understand that every team member is unique.
- Invite yourself to a place where you have the body and emotions to be peaceful and calm before you talk to your team.
- Understand the changes that are to be expected, yourself first, before you get on that call with others.
- Roll up your sleeves and be a real model, if that’s what it calls you to do.
- Invest in Coaching Skills for yourself – Every Manager must take a keen interest to know their teams beyond Project Management. And that’s when one can really build a team that respects you.
With the emergence of knowledge workers, based completely at home, Managers need to take a ‘peak into their life’ and sometimes this may not be easy. Young and older families face challenges ranging from depression, parenting, geriatric care associated stress and so on.
Here, too, as a Manager, bring your whole self, into being available for the individual. One need not be too intrusive in personal matters, but ignoring the silence, will have no positive outcomes in your relationship with the employee.
Here are some to-do’s I recommend as a coach and a senior employee at an organisation filled with a diverse employee need:
Tips for managing and meeting expectations at work
- Don’t assume that because the work is good, your team will always remain satisfied and happy. While this boosts the general morale, observe keenly to what your employee is telling you and NOT telling you. Maybe it’s the boredom in the voice, maybe it’s the delayed response to the update you asked for.
- Be authentic when you reach out – Take a moment to make space for the employee to speak. And allow them to tell you, that they have messed up.
- Be available to support – Here’s where hypocrisy can creep in, when you extend support, however the support is not defined and there is no path for the individual to get to a place of completion. Create this path actively with them.
- Start the day with a quick check-in – Not long calls, be brief about ‘objectives’ – Not tasks; Show how the outcomes will play a role in the company growth. And ask how your team member has planned his/her day, invite to prioritise, rather than telling them to do something in a particular way only.
Managing employees outside of work
- Take a moment in the week to talk about ‘life in general’ – Talk about family, hobbies, health or any other topic – Be prepared for such conversations.
- As a Manager, lower your guards and be vulnerable. Many a times, a manger portraying his success can distance his team. Be vulnerable and talk about failures and your struggle with that.
- ‘Design Your Conversations’ – This is not about manipulation or choosing the right words. This is about ‘being the space’ and asking the right questions. Extend a hand of trust, while letting the other person know that while you are not a counsellor, you can lend a listening ear, whenever the need arises.
- Nurture their interests keenly, and sometimes this means that one should be willing to let them go, as well.
- Be open about breakdowns in personal and professional life – Be open to recommend help – It can be support groups in the neighbourhood, a helpline number or hospitals for a health checkup, etc.
- Be aware of workplace harassment – This can play a role between employees. Be upfront about talking about the company being a place of Zero Tolerance to Harassment of any form – Verbal or otherwise. Intervene actively and get a mature employee or HR involved in discussing such issues.
All this is to say that a Manager needs to be someone who can really ‘discern’ an employee who really has an issue and works towards improving them. Listening deeply to yourself and your team members is the starting point.