Skills no manager should ignore

May 6, 2020

McGregor’s Theory X and Y, the most recalled of all motivation theories defined an inflection point in management. How managers moved to a new way of viewing and managing their people characterized by less of directing and more of participating, from being extractors to nurturers. This called for a huge leap of change in management behaviours.  

While that was the 1960’S, basics of managing people still brave the test of time even as we move into 2019. With today’s workforce being dominated by Millennials and Gen Zs: a generation born digital wired to social media, a high drive to achieve, keen focus on societal impact and craving to learn for self-development among many more. So, what does it take to manage them differently?

1) Connect and care for your people: People like to work with people whom they like. It’s true for customers and it’s true for your people. Think about it, on an average, if one spends 40 hours in a work week, for a whole year it’s close to 10000 hours! That’s a great amount of time for managers to understand and care about what drives their people, their motives, interests, beliefs and values. Quit that power distance and build deeper connects with your people – young and experienced alike.

2) Communicate: The importance of earnest communication is most appreciated by teams. Access to information on decisions which impact teams: be it in context the work they do, their customers or the organization, it’s important to help them to have the big picture in mind. So, get out there and communicate, and be comfortable in communicating the good and bad.

3) Get those management basics right: There are somethings which never shall fade – the need for Fairness being one. The presence of politics, favoritism is one of the greatest sources of stress and erodes trust. Behaviors that foster fairness in goal setting, career decisions, progressions, performance management matter a lot!

4) Be a coach: Coaching is a great managerial skill for the future. One which fosters equipping people rather than developing. One which encourages asking the right questions rather than prescribing the way forward. Being a coach helps team members explore their potential and commit to action. According to a Google Study, Coaching is one of the top-rated skill for managers.

5) Value differences: As the workforce become more diverse, managers need to get comfortable with diversity and valuing differences. Collaborating across functions, generations or cultures, requires managers to be open to differences and use it effectively to drive performance.

There definitely can be more to the secret sauce of management. Some never go out of style.  

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