Why sometimes the best employee never becomes a great manager

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why sometimes the best employee never becomes a great manager

You may have come across many individuals who have gained the reputation as best employees in their respective organizations, but when promoted to become the boss of their unit, they failed to deliver results. My experience as a sales and marketing guy helped me to see such employees from close quarters. Some of the guys were too strong in marketing and selling products, and they turned up decent results with their sheer hard work. And then the review process was put in place. The management decided that three of us should be made team leaders. 

 Image credit: viewstock / 123RF Stock Photo

It was a great day for us. We partied together to celebrate our success. Even before a month passed away, I could see that one among us was facing a tough time to manage his guys. We were close, and it hurt me to see him suffer. His boys were not responding to him as well as he would like them to. Secondly, he was not able to obtain expected results. He came to me for  advice. Though, I couldn’t answer anything to him then, but I thought long, and then saw what he missed.

The mindset of being an employee

Many just cannot make out the difference between a worker and a manager. Even after you become a manager, you still hold on the mindset of a worker. You work hard as you used to do earlier, forgetting that you also have to look after others. You believe that your subordinates will complete their work and look after themselves. However, in reality, a manager should facilitate the working style of his subordinates. He should make sure that the quality of work improves. 

For example, if a manager has been promoted, he should talk with his team to help them understand the mistakes they are committing. He can also consider different ways to improve the shortcomings of his sales team, rather than only look after his own clients. Remember, a manager is only good as his team, therefore, always look to improve your team’s performances. Though, you might churn up business for your company on your own, but if you can’t make your team work, you have failed as a manager. 

Often fails to read subordinate’s mind

To get the best out of those working under you, you must be able to read them. Bosses, who understand the level of potential of their employees, are in a better position to make use of their understanding. It doesn’t matter how talented an employee you may have been, dealing with your subordinates is a psychological skill to an extent. The ability to read your employee’s drawbacks forms a part of it. Once you know the drawbacks, try and handover the assignments that do not interfere in any way with your employee’s drawbacks. 

Some don’t know how to suppress their emotions

Bad habits can be dangerous to any career, blend it with failing to curb emotions, it can be even more damaging. Some bosses have this habit of getting too personal with the team, and by doing so, they might speak something, which demeans their status. They respond by their instinct and often lack the sense of a place. They may have been exceptionally accomplished performers themselves, as employees, but they just don’t have enough to command the respect of their peers and subordinates.

Companies these days don’t want their managers to stick only with their work responsibilities. They are sometimes forced to double up as an ambassador, or represent the company to grace an occasion. For instance, in the 89 Nehru International Cricket Cup, sponsored by MRF, the company asked their district managers to look after each cricket team, and managers, in fact, stayed with each of the 6 teams till the end of the tournament to handle the needs of the international teams. 

That’s the commitment a manager is responsible for. You do have to ask yourself whether you fit the bill.

Some just don’t have a broad perspective

The real critical problem that newly promoted managers face is their outlook towards their work. For years, or may be months they have been just regular employees, and suddenly when they become the boss, they find it difficult to integrate their old outlook with their new job responsibilities. The approach towards their job lacks broader perspective. They fail to take into account the needs of their subordinates; rather they are more concerned with how they view their new job responsibilities. The lack of change in approach can have detrimental effects. 

It’s essential to understand the new role, and just because you have now become a boss, it doesn’t mean that you start dominating your subordinates, but try and forge relationships with them, with the use of experiences that you had gained yourself working under someone. Your expectations from your boss, when you were under someone can help you to understand your subordinates moods and minds, and will help you become better managers.

Finally, the management should also make sure that the designated managers must have the requisite qualities of a manager; a dutiful employee may not have it. Many companies have the policy of appointing in-house managers. They don’t hire from outside. Such companies should know the fact that great employees sometimes never become great managers.

 By Rajiv Sighamony

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