“It is very important to be humble but to maintain the conviction that we can do something good. “ – Claudio Ranieri”
Manager is a job title that is used in organizations to denote an employee who has certain duties and responsibilities to lead functions or departments and/or employees. He is assigned to a particular level on an organizational chart and has diverse duties and job responsibilities for people and functions. The job description of a manager varies from organization to organization depending on the specific responsibilities that are assigned.
In some the title, manager, is only assigned to employees who have other employees reporting to them and in others to employees who manage a functional area. For instance, Sheela with the job title of manager has no reporting staff but responsible for expanding sales to international markets. A thoughtful description about manager’s role/duties comes from the HBR as
“Management is the responsibility for the performance of a group of people.”
What’s the Issue?
Every organization is in need of good managers. Whether a student, climbing his way up the corporate ladder or already a manager, most of the youngsters wish to become good / better managers. A mere degree from an Institute/University is not enough for making of a Good Manager. It takes lot of hard work and being in tune with customers, co-workers and other managers, to be a Good Manager. Even from a developing country like ours point of view having good managers is of paramount importance. Because it’s they who, through effective utilization of resources, including that of talented human resources, ensure outstanding results for the organization thereby adding to the GDP.
So, being a manager is not just about having a title but actually acting the role. But what makes a ‘Good Manager’? Why do we need Good Managers to-day? Let’s try to understand first what actually constitutes a Managers work:
Firstly, they set their team’s objectives. Setting team objectives involves dealing with other managers in the organization and letting his own team members have their say.
Secondly, they must organize the work by working out what needs to be done to achieve the objectives. Selecting the right person for the job is equally crucial. Further, allocation has to be made according to one’s skills and experience with respect to the needs of respective job.
Thirdly, they must communicate not merely just telling people what to do but also must listen to their team and encourage their ideas. Another important point of communication is creating trust in the team. And one must not forget that trust is earned and it must be earned the hard way!
Fourthly, they must also motivate every member in the team to give their best. A good manager should not neglect or ignore hard work and sincere efforts.
Fifthly, they must set targets for their team & must motivate them to work harder and make it achievable.
Finally, they must develop the knowledge and skills of the individuals in the team. Because obsolete technology is dangerous, but obsolete human resources is disastrous. Moreover, given the equal accessibility, affordability & availability of all other resources, it’s the talented human resource that alone could provide the cutting edge in a competitive environment of today.
Need for Good Managers:
Globalization is the new mantra for Indian companies. More and more companies are using it as a key strategy to achieve competitive advantage. Further, companies are pursuing globalization not only through organic growth but also by increasingly through acquisitions. With this trend there will be a remarkable increase in the need for management talent, i.e., availability of Good Managers, who will understand the needs of the global economy and execute accordingly. Further, over the last couple of decades’ certain new trends emerged posing new challenges to the new managers of today.
- Diverse / efficient communication channels (chat, email, sms etc.,) posing a greater challenge in separating personal from business communication.
- Retaining work force.
“If you want your people to be responsible, be responsible to their needs” aptly says N.R. Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys
- Changing work place and work ethics. Values and aspects of morality have to be redefined to fit into the present scenario without losing their essence.
So, today’s manager has to be nimble, agile and beware of his or her own native culture and its influence on contemporary business practices. This shall enable him to provide leadership and guidance to the rest of the team. Further, manager’s success today, more than ever before, depends on the success of the team’s they manage and how well they are able to motivate and enable them to give their best to the organization.
In the past all a person needed to be a Good Manager was being tough and having the impetus to get the things done. However, the traits that people will need to be Good Managers in to-days LPG context, and more so in the post-global meltdown background, are very different from those of two decades ago. To-day the skills that are required of a Good Manager are much more complex and diverse. Given below are some of the most important skills/qualities required of a Good Manager.
- Desire to manage: As managers they need to be interested in the people working with them, evincing interests in their work, family, and at personal levels reassuring the employees that the manager cares for them.
- Lead by Listening: He must make use of what he/she hears from above, below and even outside the immediate sphere of business.
- Cultivate Emotional stability: The new millennium will be a time of great changes in the workplace & the good manager will need to approach these changes as opportunities.
- Recognizing people: Recognizing people for their contribution is one of the surest ways to secure employee loyalty.
- Integrity / values: When sound ethical practices trickle down from the top, employees rise to the occasion and a greater sense of achievement often results.
“When you fight for values, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you. Then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- Manage Relationships: The manager of tomorrow will need to understand full and part-timers, freelancers, temporary and flexible-time workers, recognize their weaknesses and use the strengths inherent in each of them.
- Adapt: The manager in the 21st Century will have to move from one way of doing things to another, become a strategist, mentor and even a team leader
- Be A Visionary: Vision means being able to see, not only the forest for the trees, but beyond the forest, being able to envisage the future of the organization.
- Be a good facilitator: A good manager must be within the reach to his teammates for any advice / suggestion, fixing a problem etc. The mere feeling that there is someone to goad / guide / correct them is enough to spur them into action and give their best.
In this regard it’s worth recalling what the Great Manager Lord Krishna had to say:
yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion–at that time I descend Myself.
In other words, a good manager must chide when required, pull up when it is needed and extend a helping hand when sought. As we all know the important thing in an organization is its people. If the manager treats them with respect and dignity, helps / guides them, apart from pulling them now and then as and when required, they will get the best from their team mates.
In today’s highly competitive world it is the people who matter the most, as outstanding results of any organization depends on the outstanding performance of people. Hence, the role of a manager, who needs to co-ordinate their efforts, synchronize their creative energies towards attaining the organizational goals, assumes added importance. In other words, today we need not seek simply managers but ‘good managers’ who will
- Be as solid as earth so that they could stand up to any challenge with integrity
- Use fire within them to ignite it in others
- Learn to swing like the wind (Flexible)
- Be as big hearted as the sky (in helping people) as cool as water (while facing storms)
- Will place emotions aside and without any mental agitations.
Lastly, let us conclude by saying that:
Dharma Rakshathi Rakshitah – ‘One who protects dharma; he will be protected by the same.’
Let the young managers live their life & lead their career in a way that makes a difference to the society.