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Saturday, October 28, 2017

a motivated manager makes a difference!

We are living in a world that is changing fast. Yet, there are certain ‘unchangeables!’

One such unchangeable is:  that the manager has to accomplish his mission… his organization’s goals through the work of others. And that is the greatest challenge which every manager faces!

In today’s knowledge economy this has become even more challenging. For, traditional command and control management is no longer fit-enough to generate the kind of performance that a manager wishes to have from his knowledge workers.

Yet every manager eagerly looks for: enthusiastic and motivated employees who believe in their ability to successfully execute the assigned task and those who are easy to manage for they are willing to collaborate with the manager in his pursuit of organizational performance and efficiency. What a wishful thinking!

For, as manager is wishing for collaborative employees, employees too look for a   positive, and trustworthy manager who is engaged in creating and sustaining ‘can-do emotional climate’ at the workplace. The first step in this direction must, of course, start from the manager himself. For, a manager only can influence his team indirectly about how they feel about their work. In order to be in a position to influence his colleagues, he has to obviously manage his own work-related attitudes in such a way that it would prompt the rest to emulate him. Secondly, by skilfully managing his/her own behaviour towards the fellow employees, of course, without sacrificing the organizational needs, a manager can influence the attitude and the behaviour of his colleagues.    

Similarly, a manager’s communication plays a great role in generating highly self-motivated employees at workplaces. Instead of simply giving functional instructions/directions to employees for carrying out their job, if a manager encourages their participation by asking questions relating to the job on hand and steer them towards designing their own work-path to accomplish the organizational goals, it betters employee involvement—indeed they will execute it as though they are the owners of it. 

In the long run, as Thoreau said, “people hit only what they aim at.” Therefore, a manager has to “better aim at something high”, no matter even if it “should fail immediately.” For, success in executing a challenging task always gives the employees the much needed kick and it in turn stimulates their intrinsic motivation. Here, there is a danger of missing-link: Often managers pay little or no attention to provide the much needed requisite resources to execute the task. Is it necessary here to stress its importance in ensuring successful execution of plans?

Moving on to the next, manager need to learn to undertake the labour of giving feedback to the employees to improve their performance/results in a very matter-of-fact tone and it must be specific, accurate, informative and controllable. To ensure that feedback helps in motivating the employees positively, a manager must equally be willing to take feedback from the employees and handle it with fairness to its logical end. He must also use his discretion to avoid negative feedback that hurts the feelings of employees, for it can push them into defense.   

A manager must always bear in mind that his own motivational levels as exhibited from time to time at workplaces will have a direct impact on the motivational levels of employees. Similarly, when work-environment is seized with conflicts, manager has to necessarily step in to resolve them productively rather than overlooking them, for it is certain to demotivate the employees.  

When fundamentals of management of the unit are intrinsically right, rewards and recognitions can be used as an effective tool to further improve the motivational levels of the organization. For, in an environment of fairness and employee trust, awards will be received with a smile. To conclude, a manager has to create a healthy work environment where employees feel happy to carry on with their tasks with a positive orientation.

Incidentally, the other day, as I got the FT’s supplement —‘how to spend it’ —into hand, as usual, I straight away went to the last page to look at the column: ‘The Captain’s Table’. This time round, it featured Carlos Jereissati Filho, CEO of Brazil’s luxury mall business Iguatemi Group. He opened his conversation saying, “I come from a Lebanese family and we settle our differences around the table: my father demonstrates his love with a generous offering of food, and this holds true for business too. It is vital to build a relationship outside the office, in places where you can discuss everything from family to problem-solving.” This appears to be a cultivable attitude for managers too! It shall not cost much to assemble together over cup of tea—for, it is not necessary that they must go for expensive lunches in restaurants—once in a quarter or so and take a review of the happenings in the unit, which shall foster healthy relations in the unit. 

True, it is a challenge for the manager to demand work from the employees and at the same time keep them in good humour. Well, is there any alternative! That is where a manager's  ingenuity makes a difference….


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