What is the most difficult task as a manager in a corporate organisation?
a) Finding a way to fund your projects, justify ROI and achieve your KPIs?
b) Dealing with the likes, dislikes, and increasingly discerning choices of your customers and partners?
c) Handling the soaring expectations of one’s bosses (without sounding like a wet blanket)?
d) Keeping a close tab on what your competitors are doing in a hypercompetitive marketplace?
e) Working with the widely ranging personalities of your direct and indirect reports, while smoothening ruffled feathers?
f) All of the above?
I believe the answer is probably closer to f) for most of us saddled with the enviable/unenviable task of managing and handling both people and finances. Faced with competing pressures for one’s personal time, attention and energy, how can one handle the often onerous duties of management?
There are several strategies that one can adopt to bring greater mindfulness in how we manage our days.
Embrace an attitude of mindfulness and take a step back. When things get heated in the office, don’t jump into the fray with your sword and shield in place!
Instead, control your gut feelings, take a deep breath, and think rationally and objectively before responding.
Learn how to tune out and tune in at the right time. When you get back home after a hard day at work, try not to let the worries of the day keep you awake in unproductive wakefulness.
Try to relax by listening to music, going for a long run, or practising yoga.
Be patient and try to hear somebody out if possible, and speak in soft and measured tones. While you should try to empathize with the other party, do not let the conversation spiral into a hysterical emotional roller-coaster.
There is a time and place for spilling one’s guts and bawling one’s eyes out – the pub is probably better than the office for this.
Take everything that you hear from the office grapevine with a pinch of salt, and do not be upset by nasty or hurtful comments about yourself. As a manager, your job isn’t to become the most popular guy in the block.
Rather, your task is to ensure that the organisation runs smoothly and efficiently, while taking care of the collective welfare of your colleagues.
There is always a time and place for vigorous discourse. However, do not be drawn into long intellectual and philosophical arguments that are fruitless, energy sapping and time wasting. Don’t suffer from analysis paralysis and aim for perfection when time is not on your side.
Finally, learn to let go. There will be times when you screw up, make mistakes and flop. Just take it with a pinch of salt, admit that you have gone wrong, and move on to the next project and initiative.
Of course failures that are too costly may result in the organisation letting you go instead, but well that’s a different story altogether.
Can one truly find inner peace and tranquility in a tempestuous workplace? What are your experiences like?