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TODAY’S STORY
2 May
,
2022

Three lessons I learnt as a manager.

#1: You can hear better with subtitles.

For most people, their manager is the company. How they see their manager is how they see their company. And their relationship with their manager is their relationship with the company.

And as a manager, you’re the face of the company for your team.

Whatever the decisions taken at the top, your teammates will always hear those decisions better from you — when you provide the necessary contextual subtitles for them to carry out those decisions and help them work in alignment.

And their relationship with you will define how they see the company as a whole.

#2: Unacknowledged soldiers turn against the army.

Sometimes, a great employee who doesn’t feel valued enough with monetary compensation even after asking for it will still keep working for you because they need the money.

But they will completely tune out and just do enough to get by.

In worse cases, they will talk about how dissatisfied they are with their teammates, leading to a general sense of dissatisfaction within the team.

They might even start looking for other jobs while being completely tuned out of their current work.

And as a manager, you will be at fault for letting this happen. Providing early and specific feedback to catch and resolve misunderstandings is key.

#3: Comparison is the root of misery.

Do you remember how much you used to hate your parents comparing you with that over-performing neighbour's son in school?

As a manager, never compare and pitch one of your teammates against another.

During performance reviews, never tell an underperforming employee to treat their teammate as an example and be inspired by them.

Not only does it not work the way you expect it to work, but it also creates unwarranted animosity between the two teammates — even when there was no real animosity to begin with. And this is especially true from the perspective of the teammate who is performing well.

It creates a zero-sum game between teammates where none existed previously. Instead of working together to grow the company, they will start working against each other.

And as a manager, you'll be at fault for letting this happen.

It's a harsh truth, but star employees often create star haters, especially when the frame is "You aren't as good as they are."

"Praise in public, criticise in private," is how the common advice goes. And although there are many upsides to praising in public, you never want to convey the opposing sentiment to the rest of the teammates — that they need to level up their game.

The same advice goes for you if you are an employee: Never talk about other teammates in a negative light during your performance reviews. Focus on what you personally can improve or change, and let your manager do the rest.

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Liked today’s piece? Share it with your friends who have recently stepped up to a managerial position. And also write back to me with your questions, I’d be happy to take them up.

Regards,

Raj Kunkolienkar

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