Monday, February 27, 2012

[Devil's Guide] Essential Skills Of A Manager

Disclaimer Alert: These experiences are partly fictional and has been collated over my brief stint in the corporate world and does not correlate singularly to any of my past / current managers or even my friends' managers. 

Though, we may not like it, we all spend quite a bit of our time of our lives with our managers if we are employed. At certain point of time, we do have people under us whom we have to manage and they too won't like us in most cases. Here are some of the sure shot ways which will make their lives a bit more tougher and project you as a leader of men in front of your own manager for your next appraisal!

  • Irrespective of the directs' performance, you need to learn to rate similar performance the lowest or the highest. Your job as a manager is the ability to justify both ends of rating for a similar performance. The bell curve, your peer's performance and the organization's hierarchy are your primary weapons. Learn to use them effectively.

  • During any discussion, when the direct has a valid point, it is imperative to take the valid point so far as infinity so that like a unit positive charge sitting at infinity, it  has no effect. You need to have a wealthy experience of anecdotes, and ability to change the context without the direct's knowledge. Some managers are so good with their anecdotes, the direct suddenly forget, why on earth he is listening to him. Then there are managers (the most dangerous kind) who can make the direct's valid point completely against him. 

  • Learn to create a story. Mistakes happen in a professional environment. The true test of a manager is to create a story that will deflect the blame. The blame can be shifted to another person, team, process or even the tool that is being used. The best in business convert the mistakes into achievements. On a separate note, this probably is a reason why IIM grads get into writing books. They are good at creating stories.

  • Learn to be provocative. All the directs will say "I am fine" when asked how are they doing. Only by probing and instigating, does the true emotions come out. Good managers are very good at provoking. For each and every word you utter, they observe closely your body language and hit you right where it unnerves you. Some are so good at this, that every meeting is an emotional drain on you and you come out just thinking, how on earth you opened your mouth in the first place.

  • Learn to manage your directs' time effectively. You read it right. it doesn't matter, how you manage your time. But it really matters whether you can manage your directs' time effectively. The ideal state for a manager is to have all the directs working 8 hours non-stop. Productivity and innovation are the buzz words to live by.

  • Learn to schedule a meeting without an agenda and still exceed the schedule at least by the duration of the original meeting. This tactic helps you pass up time when you do not have anything to do or when you are getting bored. Talking with the team, increasing the bonhomie within the team and status updates are your arms for this.

  • When asked to present, present for the whole duration of the meeting. Even if there is a single slide, talk as if there is no tomorrow and stop exactly a minute before the meeting is supposed to end. Your authority is stamped. Everything will be followed, no questions asked.

  • Learn to use the meeting room wisely. When I say wisely, it means indiscriminately. It just sends out a message, that you are very busy and should never be messed with.

  • Finally sometimes, when your directs make a mistake in a report and try to cover it up, make the cover-up fool-proof. It helps!

For the more office gyaan click here. Self is not responsible for any misfortune arising out to anyone following this sagely advice. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

[Poetry] The Wave

The Wave
The clouds cleared, paving
The way for the moon
Stars dimmed themselves
For the queen has arrived

A sudden sweeping force
Lifted us from buzzing drone
A new song was in the air
For the moon made its presence felt
Pulling us out from
The earth's darkness
Our hearts fluttered
As we kissed the winds

The new song was within us
The higher we went
The song beats increased 
The moon glowed 

Living on the higher plane
Exhilaration engulfed us
Lords of the dull earth
Was what we became

Yet the earth was still the master
The moon a mere imposter
And slaves we remained  
To the jealous earth

As we looked above one last time
Grateful for the hope of freedom
Smiled before crashing 
Into the hungry rocks below