Roger my colleague at previous company, told me that he would be moving to Utah to join his new employer as a program manager. So we were discussing how it feels to join a new company, new role. I knew Roger in some ways – he gets the work done but he is kind of aggressive manager. Yet I was surprised to hear what he said about - how he wants to build first impression. Roger said “In my first few days, I am gonna be really aggressive (read bully) with my team and channel partners. Managing team is always about polarization. If you are a strong pole, you lead.”
Then I started thinking about all those instances which made me respect my managers. I have tried listing those instances/characteristics and also added few more traits as I saw or heard from my other colleagues.
Treat them with respect even in bad situation, respect their personal time but at time if project demand, required remind them to devote more time for
Be competent enough to understand, manage and control team’s work areas. You need not be highest level of expert but should be able to make sense when you assess deliverables and match resource capabilities with
Empower team members, assign them activities to utilize their strengths, provide them opportunities to improve weakness, train them. For their work area, entrust them to do what they want as long as it aligns with overall objective at the same time, make them accountable for their actions
Be fair and tactfully transparent while dealing with assessment of their work. Typically everyone thinks that he/she has done amazing job and deserves special stars in the periodic review. As a manager you need to be impersonal, impartial and fair to average team members.
At times, your project team members may look for guidance; if you are good at it, be a mentor; if not you should redirect them to right resource. So you need to be their mentor, supporter; also when it is a right time, you should criticize them for larger benefit.
One cannot be highly competent or expert in all areas; but one should always keep learning. You can learn from your team members, value their opinion, and appraise them for their knowledge.
Appreciate your team members in front of your higher management and customers. You should mention about their contribution to the project/deliverables and recognize it. Team will realize that manager is fair and transparent enough to pass on the credit, in front of management or client.
You need to be strong enough to remove a team member who could potentially take down team spirit, productivity. To me personally, there can be no room for unethical team members, but you should certainly consider taking tougher decision about someone who can hamper team’s productivity and performance.
Bad times will be there. If you are able to, think and try to shield your team from adversities arising out of the situation; if not, you can be transparent with them to let them know about what is happening in the company, about project or customer or whatever that may impact their career path.