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The not-so-arrogant manager

The not-so-arrogant manager

This article is a sequel to the previously written ‘Managerial Arrogance’. Also the purpose of this write-up is that just in case after reading the managerial arrogance piece, if quite a few  characters who play ‘boss’ recognized themselves as the culprits and are now scratching their heads about what to do then this serves an antidote to their predicament.

 As opposed to the manager who truly believes in being God’s gift to mankind and instills nothing but terror in the hearts of his hapless subordinates, there is an enlightened manager as well. This one is also as easy to spot as Mr. grumpy and grouchy. The enlightened manager has a queue of people outside his office keen to meet him. Not that he is there to win popularity contest, but by his manner he doesn’t elicit dread to ward off people like mosquitoes. To the contrary he conveys welcome vibes to the team, where they can easily enter his office to freely discuss any matter. They can seek as many clarifications around issues without the fear of being ridiculed. This manager treats his people with respect. He aligns himself with dignity and decency of conduct when dealing with junior team members as well as those who are senior in age.

A good manager, strongly believes in nurturing relationships. He knows his people beyond the deadlines and KPIs on which they deliver tirelessly. The test of a closely bonded manager is whether he or she knows the names of his team members’ children or about a big event in his subordinate’s life. If the manager does not know what motivates each person in his team, then he will fail to win their hearts and loyalties. This manager inspires the trust of his people. They turn to their boss for guidance with a conviction that any direction received from their supervisor is laced with utmost good will. A great supervisor gets work done with more productivity as opposed to the petty Hitler breed. This is because this supervisor has empowered people to deliver on their commitments to a great degree. The team members reporting to this manager would happily work longer hours, attend work on weekends if need be (although a compassionate supervisor would not unnecessarily pinch the team mates’ weekends) and really put in their heart and soul because they genuinely would never want to risk their hero-like boss’s disappointment. It is this manager whose team is genuinely afraid to let their boss down. They will strive to outperform not because their hearts are gripped in fear but because they so desperately want to earn the manager’s pleasure.

They know they can count on their manager because this manager would never sit anywhere and belittle their team members in public. Infact a good manager is one, who would never admonish, yell, bang his fists or lose his shirt in an unbecoming manner. There is a fine line between being aggressive and being assertive and the good manager always chooses the latter. If ever there is an issue to address, the considerate manager would tackle with the problem behind closed doors where no one but the concerned individual is privy to the matter rather than create a spectacle by bellowing in a room full of other colleagues ensuring that the self esteem of this poor individual is tattered for the rest of his career. By handling the problem in this manner, not only the manager wins the confidence of the subordinate but also ensures that the matter is resolved in a supportive and amicable way.

A good manager leads by example. He doesn’t malign or belittle other colleagues in the company of team members and discourages gossip or vicious grapevine. He practices what he preaches. If he expects his team to arrive at work early then he demonstrates the same behavior with consistency. A good manager is also considerate and empathetic. If a colleague doesn’t show up to work because of being unwell, the manager does enquire after their health out of concern rather than brushing it off and talking business as soon as the person returns to work. It is always a great feeling for the subordinates to know when the boss remembers important dates like the team members birthdays or special days. A good manager always fosters a team spirit by taking interest in how the holidays went for their team member who just returned from a great vacation or moved into a new house.

A great manager likes to have people around him who are smarter than him. People who can challenge the thought process of the manager. Good managers do not want yes-men around them, but people who add value to the existing thought process by questioning the status quo and offering constructive opinions. These managers’ purpose is to groom their teams to succeed their positions. These bosses tend to develop the team’s ability to think rather than becoming mindless executioners. Managers ensure their teams are enabled and empowered to get the job done. For them, the team members are not robots or means to get work done but the idea is to facilitate them to take ownership of their areas and deliver on them making the team shine gloriously. Being accessible is certainly one of the best traits of a great supervisor, truly living the open door policy. However, this also calls for precise time management skills. A great manager is always on top of his schedule, he doesn’t allow for lengthy delays of people waiting in long drawn queues to meet him. He is defined and to the point about getting the message across. He doesn’t let meetings overspill their time durations into others, causing excessive rescheduling and realignment of meetings resulting in lost productivity. He abides by his time commitments and respects the time of his team members equally well.

A good manager doesn’t roam the floor with an inflated ego. But he is humble and down to earth. He believes in continuous learning rather than assuming that he is Mr. Know-it-all. He learns from his peers, from his juniors and his subordinates without any inhibitions. A great manager subscribes to giving all the credit to his team when things go great but takes all the blame upon himself when the chips are down. He does not blame his team to absolve himself of the consequences.

A great manager is not aloof, arrogant or plays God, but gels with his team and suffers from no inferiority complex. Egotism, negativity, pettiness are traits he is allergic to. A great manager sports a winning team. Someone people pledge their loyalties to and are happy to quit the organization and move along wherever that manager goes.

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