Very often a Manager is faced with a situation of managing team performance to match the deadline pressures. They know their team is very hard working and committed. If it was within their perceptible limit they would get things done. But then comes along a situation where the team has to deliver just that little more than what they think is their combined potential. Now getting that extra bit of work done, calls for some new rules and ingenuity from both the Manager and his team. When they achieve this together a new performance bench mark gets set – and the team emerges truly a winner. But then while all of us as Managers realize this – how do we actually go about handling this situation, where you need to get your team to perform more than what they believe they can?
A common technique used by most of the managers is what we call as ‘You Just Do – I will take care’ approach. In this approach the Manager goads the team into first accepting the challenge and getting commitments against what seems almost impossible deadlines. He leads the team from front, constantly beating the drum and taking care of all aspects of the team comfort from food, to music at work, to pat on the back and motivational speeches. The team under his tight supervision and cajoling very often performs. At the end of the day there is the sense of sweet victory alongwith pleasant fatigue. The victory in this gets attributed first to the Managerial capability and then the team!
A more rare technique is what very few managers dare to practice. This is what we call ‘I will take care – You Just Do’ approach. In this approach the Manager first draws out with the team what is possible by their standards of achievement. Then by the method of challenge identification and resolution, works on removing all possible blocks that the team visualizes as reasons that stop them from giving more. For example commuting pressures, personal commitments, home cooked food etc. After addressing all these issues the Manager now leaves the team with the choice to use the time released to constructive use.
Now in this approach the Manager is not drawing the schedule. He is only making arrangements for the team to first work to 100% potential and then explore how much more each of them can contribute. All the time he continues to emphasize the importance for the organization to meet the deadline. Automatically this puts the onus of meeting the delivery on the team’s shoulder. With obstacle removed, they can decide how best to invest the new found time. It is now upto them to configure their routine so that they can give more to the project under consideration. The driver here is no more the manager but the team. And the success is first now attributed to the team which acknowledges inturn the Manager. The success when it comes is still as sweet, the team as strained but definitely less fatigued.
The reason why most Managers choose the first path is because in this situation they are in complete control. When it comes to delivery pressures, many of us prefer to have the person we trust in the driving seat – and who better than our own self to play that role? The second approach also requires a highly mature and committed team, which understands, appreciates and acknowledge the choice that the Manager had in choosing the approaches.
While the first approach is known to yield a greater % of results, it is the second approach that actually goes to build a team. And as Managers we all know nothing is the last war – once you have a winning team, you have won them all!