About managers and managing

Sharing my people manager experience and insight

Contradictions of Manager …

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The challenges of being a manager is how to do keep isolating between different inter-related concepts and not only remain sane but also consistent to your team. I keep isolating between some of these sometimes multiple times within a day.

humane / ruthless  – I tend to more ruthless about execution but if I am not humane I will cause my folks to burn out.

optimist / pessimist – I am an eternal optimist in how I look at life but at the same paranoid and pessimistic when I make or review a plan

fun-loving / no-nonsense  – I tend to be no-nonsense type of person who set clear boundaries on what is professional conduct but it does not mean I cannot make work place fun place to be.

opinionated / open-minded – I am opinionated and stubborn but always willing to shed the old thoughts to grow and improve

teach / learn  – I try to from everyone around me and take pleasure in teaching what I know or have experienced in life

give / take  – You need to give a lot as manager / leader but if you not willing to take help you are doomed to not realize potential of your team.

business oriented / personal touch – I am focused on Business needs and getting things done but I have my own personal touch which is authentic.

enforcer / flexible  – I am at times one tough SOB enforcer of rules of engagement but I understand when to relax the rules and allow individuals leeway.

Somewhere after I started the draft of this post about 7 months ago, I read this one by Chris – Capabilities and Sensibilities . Though Chris talked about Start-up world, I think you need to balance your sensibilities with your teams capability if you do that you are probably building a well rounded team that can execute on anything they are given.

So why did I title this one as contradictions of manager ? Because unless you mature and become a self-aware manager you are wondering every time you oscillate between the two ends if folks working for you will think you are “phony guy”, so you kind of pause and think about this and check how you deliver etc. May be sometimes explain to folks why are switching to extremes – explain context and make them see the situation as you see it.

At some point you are at peace with yourself and how you deal with what could be viewed as contradictions, this does not mean that you have become arrogant and think you can manage any situation well. It just means you do this more naturally and when you read or reacted to situation wrong, you go explain that too and sometimes apologize for taking a harsher than warranted stand …

One thing I have learnt is there nothing original in anything I do, so there is formal theory (& years of research and human behavior analysis)  behind this – situational leadership .  My organization runs two types of this class one for the manager and one for Individual contributor so that both can use the same language but at times I find these theory rather hard to use every day. So when I take some of these training, I do not end the day either as convert or non-believer. I try to digest as much of  these concepts and not worry about using them as presented …


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