04 Jan 2018 15:49 IST

Seven resolutions to be highly successful managers

Pic credit: Dana Thornbury

Following these will enhance your careers and enrich your relationships with colleagues

Resolutions are said to be a great way to start new years. Diets, signing up at a gym, waking up early for a morning walk, making reading a habit and signing up for a MOOC course, among others are common resolutions. However, only some of these survive beyond the first week.

I wish to focus on some useful resolutions that will enhance our careers and enrich relationships with colleagues. Making these a way of life will pave the way for a very productive, positive and stress-free work-life.

~ Appreciating colleagues and direct reports: This is by far the best way of building rewarding relationships at work. All of us crave appreciation and recognition, so it helps to be generous with our willingness to appreciate. Mark Twain reportedly said: ‘I can live for two months on a good compliment’. The best way to get people who do not normally work together, to collaborate is by appreciating and complimenting them.

~ Offering forgiveness: Life is too short to nurture grudges. While it is important to protect ourselves from offensive behaviours, keeping grudges is quite energy sapping and destroys our happiness. Forgiving and moving on is more productive and healthy.

~ Reaching out to those who need help: There is so much joy in being perceptive and offering help to our colleagues without waiting to be asked. Unfortunately, there is still a mistaken notion that asking for help is a sign of weakness. In reality, it is only strong people who ask for help. Particularly juniors and newly hired colleagues, even bosses, sometimes feel shy while asking for help. Voluntarily extending a helping hand goes a long way in strengthening relationships.

~ Practising feed forward: Every time you are tempted to give someone a negative feedback, try giving ‘feed forward’. Feed forward does not focus on what went wrong. Instead, it focuses on offering suggestions on how a person can get it right the next time. This generates goodwill and reciprocity. Past actions cannot be reversed, but focusing on the future helps people avoid repeating the behaviour

~ Focus on strengths: The world is yet to discover an all-rounder who is all strength and no weakness. Being weak at something is a limitation, not a curse. Building on our strengths is how we become more valuable.

Peter Drucker had offered this wise advice many years ago: ‘Focusing on weakness is damage control, but focusing on strengths is real development’. Except when a weakness becomes a derailer for the profession one is pursuing, working around it, rather than trying hard to fix it, is a good idea.

~ Mentor or coach a junior: Taking a resolution to mentor or coach a few juniors is a great way of finding fulfilment. This is perhaps the best legacy one can leave behind — having made a positive impact on a few people we work with. Coaching is not an extra burden, as some tend to think. Great managers always integrate it with every day managing.

~ Invest in personal learning: The half -life of learning is becoming shorter. Different estimates place it as no longer than two or three years. This means we need to take stock of our relevance once every two years.

Educating oneself about new technologies like machine learning or artificial intelligence, is necessary, no matter how good a HR or marketing specialist they are. Reinventing oneself and upskilling on an on-going basis is key to remaining relevant.

Integrating the above mentioned points with how we work and manage every day is key to reaping rich dividends from these resolutions. None of the above is new, particularly when you closely observe successful people.