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A research study conducted by renowned HR researchers and authors Sumantra Ghosal and Heike Bruch in New York a few years ago revealed a pervasive reality of corporate life: while managers complain about a lack of autonomy, their supervisors lament the managers’ failure to grasp opportunities. The research findings outlined that effective managers are purpose driven, trust their judgment and adopt long-term, holistic views to fulfil personal goals, aligned with those of the organisation.
Based on this study, here are three ways in which managers can increase their productivity and assume control of
Manage demands. Line managers who proactively monitor their daily tasks and the time required to complete them usually meet their supervisor’s expectations and are thus able to take initiative, meet strategic goals and broaden their skill sets as opposed to spending time solving routine problems. Learning to say ‘no’ when your hands are full is an important first step.
Generate resources. With resources mostly being a scarcity, proactive managers devise inventive strategies for circumventing budget and resource constraints, avoiding a boxed-in, ‘can’t do’ work ethic. This is best achieved by mapping out alternative strategies, making trade-offs between resources, quality of work produced and time limitations when required, and occasionally breaking rules to complete assignments within deadlines.
Recognise possibilities. Instead of focusing on individual, day to day and repetitive tasks, managers should acquire an understanding of the organisation’s overall business strategy and functions. This is best accomplished by developing expertise in specific areas and then understanding how each function ‘fits into’ and contributes to business operations, enabling them to come up with a variety of innovative approaches to resolve issues and overcome challenges. Developing an all-round view of the business helps managers in contributing at a much higher level, thus expanding their domain.
– Leon Menezes
The writer is a senior HR practitioner, professor-of-practice and an executive coach.
First published in the Careers Section of the National Weekend Advertiser on July 20, 2014.