12 August 2022 05:49:00 IST

The CEO and co-founder of TalentEase, Fernandez is a thought leader in education and a consultant and coach to school heads, teachers and parents. He has 18 years of outsourcing leadership experience in the Asia Pacific, consulting with and servicing global and regional clients. He was previously partner/managing director with Accenture, Singapore. He was the COO with Hewitt Outsourcing APAC, and President India Life Hewitt. He has overseen teams in sales, operations, client and account management, technology, finance and HR, and has extensive experience working with multinational clients across a wide industry and geographic spectrum. He is a sought-after speaker at education and industry conferences and is a columnist with Business Line on Campus .

How do I prepare myself to manage teams as a B-school student?

Leading a team effectively is a continuous learning process | Photo Credit: Getty Images

A s a management student, I will be expected to manage teams and work efficiently once I enter corporate life. What habits can I inculcate in my daily routine so that I am ready to manage things going forward? - Leena Raheja

First off Leena, congrats on asking an important question and delighted to see that you are keen to prepare yourself today for the challenges of tomorrow. That’s the right spirit. If I may paraphrase your question into two aspects — managing others and managing yourself. Let’s start with managing yourself — I would strongly recommend you read Peter Drucker’s article on managing oneself — it has excellent and timeless practical advice.

I would suggest building self-awareness as it is a great foundation. This could come from a regular habit of recording your goals, your decisions, your strengths, your weaknesses, how you dealt with an important challenge, and so on. 

Periodically reviewing and reflecting on these notes triggers a continuous improvement mindset. Also, getting honest feedback from your classmates, friends, and professors on how you handled a class project, a presentation, or a college event, or how you approached a contentious discussion, adds to the inputs you can use to keep creating a better version of yourself. 

As Drucker would advise, I would also strongly recommend that you choose or be aware of the important values that will guide you — do you value people, do you value integrity, do you value hard work? How do these values show up in your everyday words and actions? These create the compass for all the efficiency and effectiveness techniques you will surely read and learn about. 

In terms of managing others, the only advice I would have is to keep trying it out — sometimes leading a team, sometimes just being a valuable part of it — but each time using the experience to reflect and learn. Did I say something that caused my teammate to get destructive rather than constructive? How did I manage to persuade everyone to take a particular course of action? 

What gave me the credibility to lead a particular project? Do I say what I mean and mean what I say? Each experience of leading — however small, gives you the practice and the inputs necessary to get better. With your attitude to learn, you’ve already made a great start.