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Managers- Do You Know Your Team

by Keshav Kumar
(Pune, Maharashtra, India)

Attrition remains one of the biggest challenges in IT services industry. There is a say that “People leave managers, not companies”. I would say that this is true for most of the cases (even for those where the prime reason seems to be salary!). Some of you might argue that there is nothing a manager can do if team members are leaving citing salary as reason. However, if we deep dive, you would realize that key reason could be lack of connect between you and employee which would have triggered these attritions.

There are several HR theories around what kind of manager one should be. Heisenberg theory of X and Y is one of them. Without getting into these theories and going further, let me ask you a simple questions. What kind of managers would you like to have? Jot down the characteristics you are looking for and let’s see if this post has anything common to what you are looking for.

What do you expect your manager to be? The one who confines oneself within the project boundary and always focused on ensuring the project activities are completed on time with great quality? Or the one who is not only focused on ensuring the project activities are completed on time with great quality but equally focused on growing each individual in the team. I am sure that most of you would go with the second option, which makes sense as well.

If you ask me this question, I would say that my manager should:

1. Know my strengths and weakness and should try to leverage my strength rather than just exposing my weakness.
2. Provide me constructive feedback on a periodic basis
3. Be approachable
4. Available to hear you
5. Interested in my career and career path and showing me the path for the next role. Defines the skills/experience I need to acquire before I can move to next role
6. Recognize and reward appropriately

In one word, I can say that the manager should be well connected to each team member and should be keen to grow you to next level. Now, since I have already jotted down few points here and you expect your managers to exhibit these behaviours, don’t you think it is imperative that you should exhibit the same behaviour if you are already a manager! There cannot be two yardsticks to measure the same behaviour!

So, if you are a manager and reading this and agree to what is mentioned above, you must understand that your current team expects the same from you!! The team will look up to you if you as manager are equally worried about their career path. The loyalty of team is directly proportional to how deep and real your interest is about their career path and how well you know your team members. You might find this funny and unusual. Why does manager need to know individual? Every individual like to be heard. They want to tell their story! Giving a patient listening to team members story (daily routine/weekend endeavours/ collage days fun etc.) would create a bond. Most of the time, you would realize that there is some common connect/interest which would help you to start your next conversation with individuals. I have also realized that individuals look forward to listening the experience of their managers. This is simply because this gives them the trailer of the journey one has to go through to reach a certain position. There are times when managers should realise that growth of an individual might not happen in the current project and it is better to provide a more suitable opportunity in the organization rather than being too focused on project and make resources feel as if they are married to project, not organization J.

If you are an individual who is in the initial phase of the career, you must ask your leader and manager about the career path in the organization and how they are going to help you to achieve those goals faster and effectively. You need to understand that it is not manager’s goal! It is your goal and you have to work hard.. What you are looking for is the direction/mentoring from your managers to run faster.

So, if you are a manager, connect well with your team members and make them understand that you have keen interest in their career and will work with each individual to meet their career goals faster.

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