Articles

The 5 point Agenda – Managing People

By Mandeep Singh
Partner – Talent & Rewards, HRhelpdesk.in

Managing people is the single most crucial attribute of a successful leader. Not only does this become one of the key attributes to be managed, it is the single biggest factor controlling one’s advancement. A trait which runs through all successful leaders – the ability to manage and motivate people by building an agenda that is collectively achieved rather than an individually.

Building and managing people requires lot of attributes, these are not only ever changing, but are also evolving with time. I have listed down some parameters which run through cultures and teams and are relevant in today’s time and age.

Open Relationship

An open relationship is one which goes beyond the realm of a workplace. It also is a relationship which doesn’t have uni-directional flow of information or communication. Typically speaking this translates into building an atmosphere where both the supervisors and the subordinate have the freedom to talk, to talk on areas which are personal in nature and impact a larger sphere of an individual’s life than the work sphere. It is an environment where the parties involved are genuinely interested in the holistic benefit of the other. Given that an individual spends most of the “humanly intense” hours at work in any given 24 hour period, this parameter is worth the effort.

So how do we go about doing this: The process is simple, it starts with initiating the move towards an open relationship and then sustaining it. The initiation process starts by building the foundation of trust, this is either built by sharing your own life insights or by demonstrating your trust and support, this can be done by getting the person out of a messy situation they find themselves stuck into.

It is also an essential part to keep reinforcing the open-ness of this relationship. Do keep investing time in finding opportunities which build trust amongst each other and ensure you not only initiate but also keep sharing information and gestures from your side which demonstrate your inclination to strengthen and sustain a open relationship.

Strengthen the resume

Resume is by far the most important aspect which helps individuals achieve their goals and ambitions, it is immaterial whether these goals and ambitions are in personal or professional sphere. This translates to the realisation that it is the resume of an individual which is the biggest asset they have in shaping their destiny. Therefore, any contribution made in strengthening the resume helps them get a stronger control on how they shape and fulfil their destiny, which translates to your contribution being seen as a value adder and a real motivator.

So how does one go about achieving it: to make a meaningful contribution in strengthening the resume of an individual, as a supervisor or mentor you need to first understand, what is the goal the person is trying to achieve, both in the short run and the long run? If they don’t have clarity on this, you should initiate a goal setting exercise and help them identify their goals. Once there is knowledge of goals, you need to have a market analysis for yourself to be aware what all is required to attain such goals, as a next step, you either provide opportunity in ‘capability development’ of the individual by providing them working experiences or you provide resources which an individual can use himself to move toward these goals.

Connect hearts

This is a string, a string which not only forewarns of impending dangers, but also is a tool that is used for productivity management. It is important to provide the individual a mentor, coach and a guide. Going by Indian workplace culture, it is expected that a supervisor will control, guide and be there as a coach, therefore the resistance from individuals doesn’t exist in connecting hearts, it is the supervisors who need to understand how to go about this.

So how does one go about doing this: to have a system which is constantly designed to connect hearts. As a supervisor you must focus on ties which are beyond work. It is essential to talk about and be involved in non-work related activities which are of interest to both, whether it be hobbies or adventure or a simple morning walk, you should find ways and means of engaging your team with you at regular intervals in non-work activities.

Similarly it is important to build  relationships with the individuals immediate circle of influence, whether it be spouse, family or in certain cases the friend circle. By doing this you are building a circle of influence and a cycle of perception about you and the company in the mind of the individual. Of course, the big assumption here is, that you will be doing things the right way, hence a decent population of this circle will have a positive impact perception of you and the company.

Opportunity to be gregarious

To be gregarious and be socially active and involved is basic human need. Theories and experiments have been written on why it is important. If this need is managed or contributed to by the company it adds another tool in your people management agenda.

How do we go about it: organizational brand and market perception add to this theme, which are also dubtailed with brand recognition, hence working with known and easily affiliate-able brands is a common benefit individuals see in their social involvement degree. Given that as an individual supervisor not much can be done on organizational brand strategies, what is the next course of action?

As a supervisor, you should contribute by providing experiences that the individual can relate to and utilise for their social hunger, whether we title them as ‘Facebook moments’ or as ‘knowledge pointers’ or by any other name, the idea behind these experiences is to provide content for talking and sharing during social engagement, and ideally this content should be designed for positivity.

Empowerment

What does empowerment mean, in this case, it simply means, people have a need to be in control, whether it be a small sphere of influence or a large sphere of influence, they need to be in control of a sphere, even if it is their own work.

In the organizational context, providing this opportunity directly contributes to the sense of belongingness, which is known to have varied positive impacts.

So how do we go about it: empowerment is seen as a real tool, when someone is given power to take a decision and is given power to make or see a change. Impacts which alter or move forward only on the individual’s go-ahead views. The real test, however, of an successful empowerment process is, if the same individual is also allowed to stop the movement, decision or change if they so desire.

So identify a process or system and having clearly defined empowerment matrix, even if the company doesn’t offer such opportunities, you as a supervisor can create these structures in your sub-team. The challenge however, in any empowerment process is to see how principally guided is the over-riding process. This will give the individual the real perception and flavour on whether empowerment works or doesn’t work in the company.

It is not essential to follow all these in any specific rank order, however as a people agenda driver, it is essential for you to ensure all are practiced for a stronger and productive team.

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