Yesterday, I met an experienced technologist who is also an aspiring project manager. He is getting an opportunity within his company to independently manage projects and teams. During our interaction over a cup of hot basil tea, he asked a simple question, “How should people be managed?”.
In my response, and our discussion further, a few core lessons came to the fore. If you are leading people and managing a team, you should remember that:
People have self-esteem: Each person carries a perception of his/her self worth. When leading them and dealing with performance/other issues, give important messages firmly without hurting their self-esteem.
People want to go somewhere: Team members are ambitious and they want reach a worthwhile destination. They want to work with a team that has a vision and has a roadmap of how to achieve that vision.
People want to grow: People work in a team for long time and don’t grow. Such situation demands a lot of introspection because inherently, each individual wants to expand. Are you creating right situation for individuals to expand?
People want independence: They are intellectual beings who seek fulfillment in their work. Fulfillment is only possible when they get their own space to perform and shared authority. Independence to execute their ideas and ask questions is very crucial for people to grow. Micro management is a thing of past.
Inspiration is their fuel: Once people buy in the vision, they need to see progress to remain inspired. They look for inspiration in how leaders operate, what actions they perform and how well they handle difficult situations.
Feedback is their compass: In their journey, they want to know how they are doing and what value they are adding. Periodic one-on-ones, interim reviews and casual communication done regularly goes a long way in building a high-performance team.
Trust is a currency: Trust fosters self-esteem. They way you manage people and communicate tells a lot about how much you trust them.
At the end of our conversation, we agreed that working with people, guiding a team and helping them in their quest for peak potential is one of the noblest things we can do as leaders. It is an opportunity and an obligation as well.
He looked very optimistic when we parted. I wished him all the best!
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Join in the conversation: What lessons would you share with this aspiring leader? What works for you when you lead your team? What doesn’t?
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