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MANAGING SUBORDINATES EFFECTIVELY

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     on  15 April 2008    

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MANAGING SUBORDINATES EFFECTIVELY

So you’ve just received a promotion and are in charge of your very own team. What does it take to be a good leader you wonder? Effective leadership comes from the understanding that a lot of your success as a leader depends on the productivity of your team. The manner in which you deal with your subordinates is critical to their progress and ultimately your own.

Here are 5 important tips that’ll help you manage your subordinates effectively.
 
1.  Public praise and private criticism
Everybody loves the occasional pat on the back and when you openly praise your subordinates it goes a long way in building their confidence. Similarly presenting your critique of their work in a public forum might humiliate them and shatter their self-esteem. A one-on-one coaching session behind closed doors displays respect and will help you gain the trust of your subordinates.
2.  Do you really know it all?
Many leaders inherently believe that they know more than their subordinates. While this might hold true for several instances it would be unwise of you to assume that it’s true across the board. Everybody no matter what his/her position in the organisation has something of value to offer and you will win more people over by encouraging their contributions than you will by making all decisions on your own.
3.  Be empathetic
You have a junior team member whose performance of late has been below par. Your first instinct would be to hold a private ‘coaching session’. But it would help to take a step back and put yourself in his/her shoes. It’s best to give them the benefit of the doubt and have a heartfelt talk to find out what’s really going on. The empathy will be greatly appreciated and will only strengthen your relationship with your subordinates.
4.  Be fair and objective
A leader that noticeably has favourites and doles out preferential treatment is greatly resented. Your job as a leader is to remain objective throughout and treat everyone with equality. Of course, you’re going to like some people more than others but don’t ever let that sway your assessment of their work performance.
5.  Pushovers are liked not respected
While it is important for you to be liked by your subordinates it is more important for them to acknowledge your leadership. You needn’t adopt an autocratic approach to ascertain your position; remember to be firm but fair. When you have to take decisions that your subordinates might not agree with explain your position and get them to see your point of view.
       
 
FORGING FRIENDSHIPS AT THE WORKPLACE  

Everyone agrees that embarking upon an office romance is ill advised, but what about forging friendships. Many of us are aware that work is an excellent environment for meeting new people and making new friends. It helps make, work more fun, and most days go by faster as a result.

For many the office is their home away from home and perhaps the only social environment they look forward to all week. At work you really get to see all sides of individuals, you get to know them and end up bonding with them due to the long hours you spend together. Having someone to confide in, share lunch with, give us encouragement and confidence and who may even help us perform our job and duties better are all among the many positives of forming friendships at work or working with a close friend.

On the other hand, just like any relationship, there are certain rules and a protocol you must adhere to and office politics that you will inevitably have to deal with. You wouldn’t want your friendship to interfere negatively with your progress and performance or spark professional jealousy, which can make put stress on both your personal and professional relationship.

The key to any successful office relationship is to keep it separate from your personal relationship and as much out of the office as possible. You must proceed with extreme caution when forging friendships and how far you allow them to go, especially within a short span of time. And remember to recognize the different levels of friendship and to never disclose grievances with other colleagues, supervisors and bosses to anyone (not even to a fairly trusted friend).
As far as possible do not make the office your only social scene and never place all your emotional energy in your job and in making friends at work. And, with regards to the friends you do make, try testing the relationship and going out after hours, taking note on what you have in common other than work, and if you are successful at bonding on other levels besides talking about work and the latest office gossip. If you do however find that you genuinely get along, you may consider reaching an agreement, that once work is over, you can talk about anything but work.
 
GET COOPERATION, SAY GOODBYE TO NAGGING        

You can do away with the hint dropping techniques. If you want your colleague to do some work be direct and ask him/her to do so.
Don’t fall into the whirlpool of blaming one another for an unfinished job or an error. This only widens the chasm of resentment between employees and colleagues and prevents them from looking at other ways to solve the problem. If you happen to be on the receiving end of the blame let it slide. You need not accept the blame if you are not the person responsible for the goof up instead you could say “It would be better if we looked at the facts.”
Another way of getting the work done is to stay focused avoid being overly critical.
Don’t demand, instead negotiate. Suggest ways to help.
Say less. People resent following orders, so be subtle. Post an itemized checklist and deadlines for goals to be met. Recognize the time and effort colleagues put into the process.
 
HANDLING FINICKY COLLEAGUES

It’s tough dealing with fanatic, moody and unfriendly colleagues. But when you gotta do it, you gotta do it.
Try following these guidelines to make your interactions with colleagues smoother:
• Try to stay in control. You needn’t be rude but you can be firm. In other words speak your mind.
Ignore immature, self-centered behaviour to the point where it does not affect you and your work. Stay focused on getting the work done rather than indulging in a  power play.
• Try to stress on how behavior can affect productivity. Communicate with your colleague about their place in the scheme of things.
• As a last resort if problems are heightened, your work is suffering etc. speak to your boss. Inform him/her of the problem, but remember not to get emotional about  the problem. State your case by outlining the facts with clarity and how and see that the necessary action is taken.
 
TURN AROUND WORK SITUATIONS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!  


When it comes to dealing with tricky situations in the workplace, be it handling difficult colleagues, bossy seniors and extreme work pressure, there are many incidents that leave us agitated or dissatisfied. When the circumstances of these incidences are beyond your control, it’s a good idea to be clear about what you want. Keep these pointers in mind.

• When faced with a dilemma involving other people, always try to assess what they want from the situation, so that you can come to a mutual agreement.
• When you anticipate a difficult situation, prepare yourself to face the task as well as condition your mind to expect the unexpected. State your case with conviction and  have confidence in your abilities. This will make the difference.
• Always remember that it pays to respect another person’s goals as you approach your own goal. This way you can understand another’s perspectives and work as a  team.
• You need to feel positive and keep in mind that the work you’re putting in will help you in the long run.
• Take some time out to develop a sincere rapport with your team members. Find some common ground to bond with them even if you do not naturally relate to them. You  never know who will bail you out of a tricky situation.

**ÐM

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