Managing Effectively, Yourself First!

Leadership is all by example and that is what I have understood and learnt till now. Starting in childhood at the age of 6 or 7 years, the first time my teacher choose me to be a class monitor and then when the college election parties used to win me over for their campaign so that they can win my block and now while leading multiple teams with vivid roles and responsibilities in the corporate world this is what I have learnt again and again. The biggest chapter in leadership I have learnt comes from my association with the spiritual path I follow (http://knowthyselfassoul.org). While doing social work there I have leaded more than 300 people who all are voluntaries. In my personal experience working with voluntary is far tougher as they have no fear of getting FIRED. With my age and the number I lead it was a personal achievement for me. But it was all too easy as I always practiced “LEAD BY EXAMPLE”. Hence I have always started everything from myself!

One of the key items I have seen people discussing most of the times and especially managers is “effective management”. As a manager we all love to talk about this again and again to our teams but we are most of the times aware that we lack it ourselves. I am sure if we know our teams are also aware of the lacunae and hence our teams don’t take this subject seriously. As I cannot fool myself always I have tried to find out ways to self improve but it all starts by identifying what is going wrong, which is the most difficult part. It is extremely hard for anyone to find own mistakes and this has been a challenge for me also. With time and practice I have learnt that if we do a self introspection regularly we can surely find some indicators that point us to the problems. What I have learnt with my personal experience that always indicate me for a time to improve my management efficiency:

  • The number of disagreements with your team are increasing (disagreements may never be close to zero)
  • Delivery is late or it never happened.
  • We delivered but it is of no use (I know you got it :o)
  • You sit late in office
  • Your team is spending too many extra hours
  • Many of the team members are leaving
  • Your team members suddenly started becoming more aggressive in behavior
  • Etc.

I knew just like me you will also say that there are many other factors too. I agree! But we (managers) are also a factor among all others. Just spend time alone and ask yourself for an answer every time this thing happens. In my personal humble experience we managed something in an inefficient manner that we are facing these issues today or will face them tomorrow. I very well remember few years ago while working in India how working late become a fashion and than a habit. The team used to work late; after starting the day late we used to have more than 6-7 tea/smoke brakes, a lunch and a long walk brake followed by some gossips. The day used to start everyday in actual at 3PM (till 4 some meetings here and there :o) and then go to home at 11 PM or late. Most of us will fire this down as more like just a team problem but in actual it was not. It was all supported by the manager as we were accompanied by every time. Finally as this was a habit it never died but the team died and many carried the habit to other groups.

“Effects live far longer than the act” hence I personally believe that as the charity begins at home so does the effective management!