Uncertainty is inevitable throughout our life and managing it is the biggest challenge that we will get to encounter. One does not need a designation to boast of managing them. It is right there as an integral component of every living human being on this coveted earth.
When we take a deep look at the various uncertain situations that we would have faced in our lives, we more often find that not a single inanimate being (other than nature) is capable of creating any uncertainty and if it does, we have to credit the same as some incredible apparition. It is we human beings who instill this 'X Factor' everytime which creates a necessity to delve into unknown territories including say metaphysics. Understanding people means decoding this X Factor and thereby removing the uncertainty and our anxiety.
In the corporate world the prefix (or suffix as the case may be) 'Manager' goes hollow if the incumbent does not get to manage people. It is immaterial whether the chosen profile is finance, Administration, taxation or whatever on earth it is. A qualitative MNC might views its Managers as also facilitators who cater to the work as well as relevant personal needs of their employees apart from meeting the deadlines. Whereas work needs are more or less same across the board, it is meeting these subjective personal needs that may be intriguing. Any student of MBA will easily come up with the list of probable needs ranging from ego satisfaction to monetary needs. The below is an attempt to bring out a few common characters which possibly many of us might have faced or seen or get to face in our professional lives (except one).
1. Aged subordinates:
This is quite an intricate situation where ego factor invariably resides. In a Company with a modern school of thought one can seize the better opportunities by adding a qualification more often than not. Not all elder people will possess positive vibes to subordinate and support us. A smart manager is one who balances the employee's ego with his for accomplishing the company's goals. At times we may have to trade off our own ego to get the task done but not to the extent of inflicting any humiliation on ourself or showing submissiveness. We will have to maintain utmost composure and ensure that we do not get provoked as that we will lead to end of the road. There are cunning minds which resort to subtle provocation or digging at especially if the manager is relatively a rookie on board. To cite an apt instance, imagine a CA with 3 years experience gets to lead a team with graduates working for almost 10-15 years in the same company. More possibilities are that out of ego the daily reporting may suffer. There could be tendencies to surpass the immediate manager (i.e the rookie) and discuss important issues with the next level in charge. The most diplomatic and peaceful way to give a dosage of their own medicine is enrich our knowledge and soft skills thereby getting into the good books of our employer. This might enhance the level of respect and make such subordinate mentally accept our superiority. Certainly we should avoid straying from them and continue bringing in their participation for any issue. Ultimately his experience might also come handy in future. Any other way also might backfire. For e.g worsening his performance appraisal report might lead to loss of cooperation from the employee and mount the pressure on us. Of course we understand that nobody is indispensable in a company but definitely these short term chaos can be warded off.
2. Nitpicking Bosses
Leaving alone cases where our own performance itself was questionable leading to some firing. There may have been umpteen circumstances where an employee would have confronted enough cribbing by Bosses for no or minor humane fault of his. Such Boss characters can be thought of many sorts, for e.g one being really incompetent or relatively less qualified and can't help himself facing the employee's smartness, second one stemming from jealousy (both look synonymous but for a marginal variation) and third one being a slightly complex but harmless one; wherein one sees his own mirror in others. The latter is a character which sees those minor deficiencies or fault of the other person as that of himself and he simply hates himself for these shortcomings. Well, these are none but real virgins who are brutally sincere and dedicated to their tasks and we can rely on them for sure. In a professionally managed organisation, the aforesaid incompetence and jealousy will receive setbacks and hence not much significance needed on managing them. But for the last one, we need to empathise with them (though it is hard to do) and not launch a revolt against them. We can consider ourselves fortunate to be associated with them as they can lead us to perfection.
3. Disciplinarian Boss:
There are people who enforce or thrust rules on subordinates in a typical authoritarian way which might hurt our Ego. But the best part in them is they in turn subject themselves to such rules and perhaps also get wilfully lead by the nose. Such characters need not necessarily be egoistic and are admirably fair players since by nature they are just feel comfortable being in an orderly state. If we seem to counteract or oppose them they only get worried and do not cause any harm to us. If we are soft by nature we will certainly develop a soft corner for them after the incident !
In an organisation the behaviour that gets sowed at the topmost level of management percolates down upto line supervisors. For e.g. If the CEO/Chairman has a more employee centric approach, the middle and lower managers may follow suit and thus even the line supervisors might handle the workers with camaraderie. On the contrary, if the top brass shows tyranny and belligerence, the executives down the hierarchy show a lot of frustration in turn which brings down the morale in the lines. Of course Companies with well documented policies which mandate an employee centric approach become the best places to work.
4. Subordinates with Misconception:
Some of them do carry a misconception that they are the sole ones to get saddled with too many tasks and that the managers do not actually work (do more of talking) but still paid heavily. An instance is a wrong notion arising due to heavier quantity of work for e.g lengthy excel file preparations which possibly the manager might not have to do. Such people should be made to understand that the role of a manager is in a different dimension alltogether and cannot be equated to the ones below him. Higher the pay, heavier the responsibility or accountability. Of course efforts should not be wasted if the subordinate is not worth the salt. Modern day managers are made to attend concalls even in late nights after office hours or off days and not always required to give physical attendance unless required. It is unfortunate that some staffs catch a wrong impression that there is widespread inequality in the organisation, breed in cold wars and resort to gossipping in the grapevine.
5. Nervous Employee (Adult panic Anxiety syndrome)
Such people may be greatly skilled but vulnerable to overload of work i.e they simply falter at the very thought of too many tasks and deadlines and create tension in the camp. A good manager is receptive to this deficiency and tries to make him feel at home by affording enough leisure. Perhaps the best way, only if possible, would be to insulate him from external calls if he is really so deserving. For e.g. if he is into taxation and reporting, he can be kept off from attending calls from Government departments and allow any other person to take the calls. This is only subject to increase in efficiency and productivity guaranteed.
A clever People Manager is also someone who knows when to empathise and when to sympathise. Managing the tasks makes a Manager whereas managing people makes a leader and commands respect in the superiors since a leader can connect with anybody easily through his X Factor. For that matter one cannot manage others if he cannot manage (i.e. control) himself. In the same way one cannot understand others if he fails to master himself. This can be accomplished either by real experiences or deliberate introspections which will lead to discovering one's own shortcomings and solutions to overcome them. Then comes an opportunity to manage other people better. In current day context some MNCs follow a concept of a "360 degree evaluation" wherein managers will be calibrated also based on the feedback regarding himself from his/her subordinates too. This brings in the element of challenge.
People Management is definetely not an esoteric study. All that is required is to develop a sense of patience, practicality and sensitivity.