The role of the manager does not just end at taking care of company work. The manager is also responsible for taking care of his/her juniors and getting the best out of them. Former chairman and CEO of IBM Thomas J. Watson said, “A manager is an assistant to his men.”Hence, the manager’s responsibility is to groom the juniors to become future managers who can do the same for their juniors.
There are various ways a manager can achieve great things from their juniors. None of these ways are difficult or complex. They just require interest and patience.
· Get to know them – How can a manager really push their juniors to do their best if he/she does not know them at all. By ‘knowing them’ it does not mean to just know their job title and name but more than that. A great manager thinks of each junior individually and holistically, and tries to understand the strengths and weaknesses, goals and interests of each one. Only then can the manager really work out ways to motivate them.
· Communication is essential – As a manager it is important to keep the lines of communication open. Otherwise he/she will not be able to learn about ideas, attitude or concerns of the juniors. Also, each opportunity should be utilized to interact with them. Constant communication is the key to success.
· Support ideas–It is important for the manager to let each junior member give voice to his/her ideas. Give them a chance to take initiative and implement their ideas. Just because they are juniors and do not have much experience does not mean that their ideas should be discounted. Instead, supporting them will give them a boost and make them perform better.
· Challenge them – A manager needs to give the juniors challenging tasks. People can’t grow if they are always doing what they have always done. To ensure that they make use of their potential to the maximum and develop new skills, a manager needs to give them tasks that are outside their comfort zone. However, the manager also needs to make sure that the tasks are reachable. Otherwise, it will turn out to be counter-productive when they fail to do the work. Gradually the level and intensity of the tasks can be increased.
· Healthy competition–Competition is essential to ensure that people perform their best. For this purpose the manager can effectively use the reward system. Juniors will contribute their efforts and ideas to the maximum when they know that outstanding performance will lead to rewards. However, it is crucial that the atmosphere of competition is healthy and not toxic. If it is the latter then it will be detrimental to the success of not only the juniors but also the manager.
Former US Secretary of Defense said, “A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they can consistently do better work than they thought they could.” Hence, a manager needs to always give his/her juniors a helping hand so that they can do what they never thought they could.