Effective Man-Management in the Office

By: Gerald Goh

In the workplace, you may need to manage of a team of co-workers temporarily or on a permanent basis. Regardless of whether they’re your subordinates or of roughly equal rank, effectively leading and supervising an office team is often fraught with potential pitfalls, especially when considering the team’s diverse personalities and conflicting egos.

Don’t Practice Conflict-Avoidance
Focus on the work at hand, not the person handling the work, and give regular and meaningful feedback that your team members can act upon. Explain why certain work processes or methods should be modified and provide suggestions for how this change can be effected – nothing’s worse than pretending everything is OK face-to-face, while you resort to lengthy emails to dress down team members.

Get your teammates’ commitment. Deadlines are a necessary evil in the workplace, even when you have to be the one to enforce them, and it is best that that the task requirements and deadlines are made clear at the start to minimise future confusion.

Know What You’re Doing, and be Confident about It
When taking the lead in a working group, there’s an old adage that the leader should always know what to do - even if he or she doesn’t quite know how to do it.

In practical terms, you may not always have sufficient or accurate information about the project at hand, but it’s your duty as manager to have sufficient research and/or historical data to chart out a rough outline of the project, its aims and what the team will have to do to achieve those aims.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Convert ‘Em!
I recently attended an IPPT Preparatory Training (IPT) session (for NSmen who are unable to pass their physical fitness tests) where I saw first-hand how unwilling individuals can be effectively motivated.

Naturally, most NSmen are extremely disenchanted at having to sacrifice a couple of their after-work hours for something they have little interest in – and many of the physical training instructors (PTIs) are similarly indifferent about ensuring that each NSman puts in maximum effort.

Nevertheless, one PTI bucked this trend by not only giving clear, concise instructions, but also led the training by example, giving constant and sincere encouragement and allowing the NSmen to carry out exercises at their own pace.

He even went so far as to decrease the number of stipulated exercise sets to acknowledge the effort put in by the NSmen (and spur them to push themselves harder for the remaining sets).

At the end of the IPT session, the PTI was then given a round of applause by a crowd of NSmen who normally couldn’t be bothered to give him the time of day.

When applying this concept to the workplace, it’s good to take the time and effort to understand a dissenting colleague by putting yourself in their shoes. The source of many work-related conflicts is often an area of mutual interest – after all, people who disagree with you essentially care enough about their work to voice their dissent.

As in the PTI’s case, understanding your team members’ drives, aims and concerns is ultimately the key to helping your team remain properly motivated.

How else do you think you can effectively manage your co-workers? Share with us in the comment box below!

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