Author | M R Chandramowly
EVERYONE is a manager. A man may not have big factories and unions to manage, but he, as a householder, may have a few children and some relatives and friends to manage. Wife has to manage her husband and husband has to manage his wife. Parents have to manage their children and children have to manage their parents to get things done. You find that management is involved everywhere, whether one occupies a managerial position or not. Thus everyone is a manager.
Set an example
A manager is a leader and a leader must set an example. If you are occupying a managerial position, you cannot afford to be lackadaisical; you cannot be loose in your value structure, because others will follow whatever you set as an example. If the top man in an organisation takes lakhs of rupees in bribe, the office peon will at least ask for five rupees to move papers from one desk to another. So, set yourself as a good example.
Love what you do: You should have love for whatever you do. If you have lost love for what you are doing, you can change your job and take up another one where you can do what you love. Or, discover love for whatever you are doing at present. People often tell me, “I don’t like my job”. I tell them, “Why don’t you give up this job and take up another one?” The reply comes, “I love the money that the job brings, but not the job. I am satisfied with the emoluments, but not with the job.” You naturally will not have job-satisfaction because you do not love what you do.
There are some people who complain wherever they are. They manage to find some reason or the other for their dissatisfaction. But their problem is much deeper, connected to their own past. You can find satisfaction from whatever you do, whether it is cooking or sweeping or anything.
Discover the self-esteem
Your dissatisfaction with your job quite often has nothing to do with the job. It is the dissatisfaction with you as a person. You will find yourself dissatisfied, no matter what you do, if you are dissatisfied with yourself as a person. There will be no job in the world that will satisfy you. There are a number of reasons as to why you may be dissatisfied with yourself. You may have an opinion, a complex about yourself. There are people who always criticise themselves no matter what that situation is. This is due to what they call internalising. Especially in India, people keep internalising a lot.
Please understand that you are as much worth as you value yourself. Your value has nothing to do with what others think of you. You are worthy as much as you think of yourself as a person. You are valuable to the extent you respect yourself; to the extent you have some dignity, some self-esteem about yourself. You can manage things if you think you are somebody. If you think you are nobody, you are unfortunate. Your superiors have committed a mistake in appointing you in this position because you can never command respect, and therefore, you cannot manage other people.
The trick of managing people is that you command respect, not demand it. In that case, you find that people respect you the moment you walk into a situation. They respect you because they know that you know your job well. Your self-esteem manifests itself in all your perceptions, decisions and actions. So, every person in a managerial position should look into the self and discover a self-worth. There is no way of commanding respect unless you discover your self-worth.
Care for the people
Another important thing is that you care for the person whom you want to manage. Even if you are managing a machine, you should take care of the machine. If this is so about a machine, what to talk of the people whom you are supposed to manage? They are much more than machines. They work for you, not so much out of love for you, but out of love for themselves. They work for you as long as they do not have an opportunity to do something better. If they are offered a Visa to the USA, perhaps most of your staff and even some of your managers will leave. A person is working for you because he or she does not have a better job than this and so naturally, you have to think as to how to win that person. Every person has to be won and you cannot win people by demand.
What is that wins the person who is working for you? What is it that is needed over and above the salary and the privileges you offer to the person? What is that makes the other person work for you with love and freedom and a certain sense of service? It is care. This is the new thing they are paying attention to. They give holidays to the employees, give them open tickets, and so on. But is this care? Not really. Such benefits are considered to be care in the beginning, but after some time, the employees consider them to be their privilege. For example, bonus was considered to be a favour in the olden days, but now it has become a part of the salary, regardless of whether the employer makes profit or not. In the beginning, it is viewed as an act of kindness, but in course of time, it becomes a part of the deal. So, care is not merely economic condition. It is something that comes from an individual. Management certainly involves a number of things, but the most important is the genuine care for the other person who is working for you or along with you. That calls for an understanding of the concept of duty and sanctity of work.
Duty versus rights
The concept of duty has always been in our society, in our culture. Western society gives a great deal of importance to rights. When there are rights, duties must also be spelt out. You have no rights without the corresponding duties. If you have the right to earn, you have the duty to pay taxes also. If you have the right to drive on the road, it is your duty to observe traffic rules also. In a society where rights are emphasised, duties must also be spelt out. The duty of the citizen is the right of the state. The duty of the employer is the right of the employees.
Sanctity of work
There is nothing superior or inferior in duty. Just as there are different components in a machine and they all perform their respective functions, so also different members of the society perform their respective functions without the notion of superiority or inferiority. Each job is as sacred as any other job. In India, dignity of labour was total. It is not what you do that make the action great; it is the attitude with which you do that makes it great. We must assimilate this. Every one who is supposed to manage some people must understand this very well, understand it intimately. The management should see that the workers enjoy a dignity. We have to realise that the man, who does even a menial job for us, is in no way inferior to us.
Make people feel they are understood: Can you operate in a manner that the person who is working for you, or the person talking to you, does not develop complex? The person may be your secretary or an officer or just a labourer. Can you talk to that person without creating in him or her a complex, “I am talking to my boss”? If you do that, you are the greatest manager, because that person will give everything to you. A human being is a human being. Money cannot buy a human being. If a person is able to understand you, he or she gets satisfaction. That person discovers self-esteem, self-respect. At least, you do not contribute to the self-disrespect of the other person. Everyone feels elevated in your presence.
Always care for the people and make them understand. If you want to make them understand, make sure you do not create in them a complex that they are in any way inferior. You must intimately realise the dignity, the sanctity of work. Whether the person you are dealing with is a sweeper or an attendant or a supervisor or even your chairman, you do not lose your dignity addressing that person because you have respect for yourself. Then, you find that management becomes very natural to you, because you begin to talk to people. People are not machines. Even machines require maintenance; people require recognition that they are people.
In fact, there are no people; there are only persons. When you call them “people”, it means you treat them as a flock of sheep, while if you recognise them as persons, you find a relationship. That is why managing people are called personnel management. When you have relationship with people, management becomes natural.
Every person in a position of management has to make those whom he or she happens to manage, feel that they are understood. A manager should clearly spell out instructions and responsibilities and make them feel they are understood. Even in personal life, it is important that you make the other person feel that he or she is understood. All you have to do to make the person feel understood is to listen to the person, listen with care. Then the person is one with you as there is a mingling of hearts and finally there is no fear.
Thus there are two things involved in winning a person. Firstly, to make sure that a complex is not created in another person, that the other person does not feel that he or she is being judged by you, and secondly to make the other person feel that he or she is understood. For them to feel they are understood, you just have to listen, that is all. You may to listen even if you know what the other is going to say.
Lastly, for managing others, it is necessary that the person first manages himself. For managing myself, I must have the capacity to remain free from internalising the situations, because internalisation is one of the important reasons for my not being efficient. I am no doubt responsible for my actions, my behaviour, my feelings, but I am not responsible for the behaviour and feelings of others – unless I am. If my action has caused some problem to some person, I am responsible for it, but otherwise I am not responsible for the feelings, behaviour and actions of other people. We must see this very clearly.
Some people have a notion that they must become angry in order to manage. People around someone who often gets angry, are always anxious because this person would get angry any time. They work on anger psychosis.
But this does not work. They try to keep you in good humour because you are prone to get angry any time. They try to find methods to see that you do not get angry. They will not work for you because they have no respect for you. If you think you can get things done by being angry, you are wrong. You will never be a good manager. You are unfit for a managerial position, if you are a rigid man, an angry man. You cannot even be a good husband. So you have to learn. You should learn that anger does not pay. The Bhagavad-Gita describes anger as an enemy sitting in your own heart. An angry man cannot manage himself, let alone managing others. Once angry, you cannot manage anything. Then people have to manage you. In fact, the subordinates manage the anger of their superiors. It is hard to determine whether the manager manages the staff or they manage the manager. They know exactly when he will get angry and what to do then. They know how to flatter him, keep him in good humour, because an angry man is vulnerable.
To sum up, your ability to manage others depends upon what you are, your self-esteem, and your self-worth. When you deal with other people, make sure that you do not cause any anxiety, any fear, and any complex in the other person. Do not create a feeling in the other person that he or she is being judged by you. In your communication, see that the other person feels that he or she is understood. That is very important besides your being understandable. Lastly, you manage yourself by managing your anger, frustration etc. With these, you will certainly be a good manager of yourself and the people you happen to manage.