Monday, April 30, 2012

From good to great "Manager"

Even before I start penning down this blog, I would like to thank all the managers I have worked with right from HP, Google days to my current managers and leaders @ Infosys. Every manager has a unique way of managing the team to ensure the objectives are met and I get to learn so much working with different leaders. I have been reading all the HBRs that I had missed over past few weeks as part of my Harvard program. One of the articles that really caught my attention was about the next generation of managers.
Before we summarize on the article and go any further on this topic, let’s start with the definitions and basics: A team is a group of people who do collective work and are mutually committed to a common team purpose and challenging goals related to that purpose. Teams are more productive and innovative than mere work groups. They produce results that exceed what groups of individuals can do through simple cooperation and coordination. This commitment creates compelling social and emotional bonds among members, who come to believe that "we" will all succeed or fail together and that no one can succeed if the team fails. In every team, "we" trumps "I." Unless you've been part of a team yourself, it's hard to understand the exhilaration produced by this sense of what "we" can accomplish together.
This mutual commitment, this "we," the potent interpersonal bonds among team members, spring from two related sources: 1. A mutual sense of purpose. Every high-performing team believes it exists for a compelling reason and that the world will be better for what it does. Its purpose is not the task or work it does but the benefit it delivers. It's the difference between "We scrub hospital floors" and "We prevent the spread of deadly infections." This is what pulls people together and makes them feel part of something bigger than themselves. 2. Tangible goals based on that purpose. Purpose must be made concrete or it will quickly wither. To sustain its sense of purpose, every team needs to strive toward specific, real achievements that will fulfill that purpose. In short, purpose and related goals are the glue that holds a team together. Purpose without concrete goals is just a dream. Goals without purpose are aimless activity. But although they are critical, purpose and goals are not enough. A team also needs clarity. In particular, team members need clarity about: Members' roles and responsibilities — not everyone can do everything Important work processes — the way the team does its work, such as making decisions Values, norms, and standards that define what members expect of each other — how conflict, for example, may and may not be expressed The kinds of feedback and metrics needed to measure progress. In a nutshell to summarize Linda and Kent put it as " The Three Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader:" Manage Your Team — the first imperative — is about creating a real team and managing through it. The other two imperatives are Manage Yourself — which is about building relationships based on trust, not authority — and Manage Your Network, which is about connecting and collaborating with those you don't control.