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Being a People Manager is an honor, not a banner

C Mahalingam (Mali)
Saturday, July 1, 2006
C Mahalingam (Mali)

Smart and successful managers have believed and realized that being a People Manager is a great honor conferred on them by their organizations. They know that they can make a difference to the people they manage in ways that their team members appreciate and remember for long. Best People Managers also meet & answer one of what is globally known as the Gallup Q12 questions: Do you have a best friend at work? Great Managers are often viewed as the best friend at work by their team members.

Now, does it come easy to be a good People Manager? Far from it. It takes tremendous efforts and learning to become one. Experience tells us that

  • For some, it comes naturally and with training & efforts, they excel at being a People Manager;
  • For many others, it can be coached and they can do a pretty decent job as People Manager;
  • But for some, yes, it is a kind of Core Incompetence! Coaching does not help them, nor does preaching! They are just meant to be good individual contributors and thrusting them with People Management proves a futile exercise on one extreme and a disaster for the team on the other extreme.
    Ask yourself the following sample list of questions and if your answer to most of them is ‘unsure, no or rarely,’ then you better be an individual contributor. It would be a great service to yourself and of course to your organization!
  • Do you believe individuals can have their own style and acceptable ways of delivering results and your style is not necessarily the right one or the best one?
  • Do you believe disagreement is a legitimate behavior and is not necessarily disobedience or disloyalty?
  • Do you believe setting expectations is key to superior performance ahead of evaluating performance?

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