Coming from the raggedy world of journalism, I certainly felt like a sore thumb sticking out when I entered the corporate world six years ago. Whereas being a full-time employee in my dear newspaper meant reporting four hours a day three days a week, the new office expected me to be in 10 hours a day, with only the weekends off. That was certainly too much to ask but admittedly, I was in it for the long term because of the sense of stability it promised me. Never mind if it was a different culture altogether, a culture where the four walls had ears (and eyes!) and everyone was expected to act, and dress, formally. Goodbye maong! 😛
Whereas my former newspaper job afforded me the chance to chase celebrities, lawmakers and other persons of prominence, being in the corporate world has let me observe different kinds of managers up close. What makes a good manager…what accounts for a lousy one? How can we make office life easier for everyone without compromising important things, like productivity? Being enrolled in an executive development seminar now and encountering different case studies, I am compelled to write this post on management. Some thoughts:
1. A good manager has the right mix of dignity and down-to-earth approachability. He acts and comports himself in a way that you can respect him but not in such a highfalutin way that you will not able to approach him. Leaders shouldn’t entrench themselves in their ivory tower at all times. They should try to talk to their subordinates (not just a select few!) and listen to them.This is not only a good motivating factor, it actually encourages staff to give genuine inputs for the good of the company.
2. Delegation is an abused word. A great leader has to know every aspect of the work and/or operation, otherwise how will he assess if his staff is doing right? But you know when somebody who has just been promoted isn’t quite ripe for the position… when they can’t piece together a paragraph or two or feel too lazy (or incompetent) to take charge , they “delegate.”
And when you order your staff to buy kalabasa and okra because you forgot to buy it in the market that morning, that’s not delegation, that’s already abuse of authority 😛
Moral lesson: delegate with discretion and wisdom.
3. To whom so much is given, much is asked. A good manager is not tsismoso (gossipy) nor should he believe, much less encourage hearsay or spread misinformation. As much as possible, he shouldn’t be doing things like borrowing from his subordinates, selling longganisa, engaging in sexual shenanigans and most of all, washing this dirty linen in public. You may say a boss is only human, indeed, he can be very human some of the time… but he should give justice to his position too.
4. Grace under pressure. It’s amazing how bosses fail this test so many times without regard for the sensitivity of their co-workers … cussing, speaking at the top of their voices, banging things. Think twice before doing, unless you want to be hated behind your back.
5. Work hard, work smart. I admire a boss who subscribes to this philosophy as opposed to somebody who believes in working hard only. Why do a task in eight hours when you can finish it in four hours? We don’t have to be tied up in meetings that just goes round and round when we have other important aspects of our life to attend to, like school and family.
6. Listen, but don’t leak. Trustworthiness and reliability should be foremost in a boss. When someone tells you a problem or thing in confidence, it should be kept secret because if not, one’s credibility is lost. A manager, while being the repository of information from all over, shouldn’t hold be easily swayed and hold everything as Bible truth. He should be able to tell which ones are mush and which ones are real.
7. Don’t play god..when you’re not God.. When I was still active in the newspapers, I saw lots of editors with the “diva complex.” I guess the whole messianic thing stemmed from publicists who spoiled them by catering to their every whim and mood. Their larger-than-life illusions of themselves are of course unrealistic, especially these days when other forms of new media are sprouting. It is always wise not to play god because the people you meet on the way up may be the same people you meet on the way down, and whoever is on your bottom may be higher than you someday. Sometimes, such are the sad facts of life. 😛
Management thoughts, anyone?