What to do when you become a senior manager

I have had the privilege of working with both highly energetic, effective and efficient "people's guy" managers and supremely incompetent and misdirected individuals. So, here is a short list of things I want to remind myself to follow when I become a manager (or the people's guy).

Edit : I became a Manager at KPMG this March (2019). However, the musings and lessons are quite the same.

As usual, this is always a WIP and will evolve as per the lessons I learn and things I observe. Enjoy.

  1. Don't be a condescending ass.
  2. Don't be a condescending ass. (Its so important that I wanted to repeat it!)
  3. Give respect to those who are working with you. Especially, who are working with you.
  4. Stand for your resources & work with them shoulder to shoulder. 
  5. Be humble.
  6. Plan well.
  7. Be very clear on your requirements.
  8. Admit mistakes when you are wrong.
  9. Anger solves nothing. Use aggression only when absolutely necessary. I have seen manager's who never lost their cool even in the face of armageddon (mad props to Kedar and Urmi!).
  10. Always remember : superiority complex destroys peer respect and stems disrespect for you in your subordinates (I hate this word).
  11. Don't push your team so much that they are not having time for their family and friends. Read point 6.
  12. Keep an open mind and welcome new ideas.
  13. Know Thy Art.
  14. Don't talk for the sake of talking.
  15. Don't make decisions from 50000 feet. Understand ground realities.
  16. Resolve conflicts,don't fuel them by being the person on points 1 and 2.
  17. As a corollary to point 16, resolve conflicts as soon as possible.
  18. Pay attention to your team. Have good eyes and good ears.
  19. Communicate verbally and face to face. Voice is a much much better medium for communication than emails. If you are using too many emails to address your concerns / command your team, then rethink your strategy.
  20. Be Punctual. Respect the time of your teammates. 
  21. Mind your own business. Be mindful.
  22. Take your team out and mingle with them. You are *actually* going to spend the better half of your life with them.
  23. Plan realistic deadlines and expectations.Nothing is more infuriating and annoying than to expect something that defies the laws of logic, reason and compromises on the quality of deliverable(s).
  24. Value the work of your team. If you ignore their contribution, they will ignore you all together.
  25. Don't spoil weekends of your team. If unavoidable, ensure they are being rewarded/compensated accordingly.
  26. Don't make your team feel their deliverable(s) are a "Thankless job".
  27. Your team is too smart to see through the thin veil of divide and rule policy. Don't do it at the first place.
  28. Lead by Example. If you can't do a task in the first place given the situation and allotted time, don't expect your team to do it in first place. Put them in your shoes, keep points 1,2,6 and 23 in mind.
  29. If there is one thing I absolutely hate, is addressing "Track changes" and "comments" in the reports. That's bad management overall and reeks of incompetence and lack of communication. Also, you automatically become the antithesis of point 1 and 2 if you do it. It adds one more one more loop to the already tedious, time challenged and hopelessly broken process of office review everywhere. Reconnect with your team and get on the same page instead of using "Track Changes" and "comments". On a personal note, I really think there is a special place in hell for people who use this.
  30. Don't take your team for granted.
  31. Support your Team's initiatives, don't let them dangling.
  32. Yes, it's about budgets, optimizations and money. But always remember, you are in this together with your team. If you feel the heat, be very transparent, polite and forthcoming.
  33. Always have a plan B. 
  34. Always have an exit plan.


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