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Phi Beta Kappa people do not necessarily make great managers: R Gopalakrishnan

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 09:22 hrs

pManagement is about people and relationships Human management is the primary role of a manager and a decided competitive advantage it is not individual brilliance strongR Gopalakrishnanstrong tells emAlokananda ChakrabortyemppstrongWhat do you see as the primary role of a manager With your vast experience other than technical abilities what managerial skills would you say are essential for successful managementstrongbr Management is about people and relationships Human management is the primary role and a decided competitive advantage it is not individual brilliance Phi Beta Kappa people do not necessarily make great managers I have elaborated this in the book as the 4 As accomplishment affability advocacy and authenticityppstrongWhen compared to hard technical issues considered central to an individual manager&rsquos role would you say these soft skills are equally necessarystrongbr Technical skills are necessary but not sufficient Human skills and soft skills generally are the platform on which technical skills have to be mounted if they are to be truly effective And think of this it is so difficult to train people in human and soft skills These have to be learnt all by oneself Hence the importance of doing by learning and learning by listening to other people&rsquos stories This is the way we have all learnt about whatever we believe in with respect to values and ethicsppstrongA discussion of competency building is often the focus of new manager training but not a big part of what you share in this book Where do you see it fitting instrongbr If you mean &lsquotechnical things&rsquo finance operations project management by using the word competency then the omission is deliberate Anything that can be taught can be learnt Competencies that cannot be taught then become the differentiator And that is where my book is focusedppstrongYou just spoke of &lsquothe importance of doing by learning&rsquo but can people actually &lsquolearn&rsquo how to manage Given that there are relatively few who can actually &lsquomanage&rsquo&mdashpeople tasks organisational goals&mdashwell how big an impact can they havestrongbr Absolutely Whatever people need to do they can learn But whatever has to be learnt may not be possible to teach Pedagogy teaching through a system is not equally successful when it comes to human skills Learning by doing and reflecting works better Everything we learn is not taught and everything we are taught is not learnt by us I do not quite recall the physics lectures that my respected teacher taught me but I remember my grandmother&rsquos stories betterppstrongWhat are the biggest challenges before managers today What are the resources and tools that a CEO can offer his manager so that heshe is able to deliverstrongbr There are challenges of a technical nature and of a humansocietal nature The former relates to particular industry segments But the human and societal challenges are broad how can I run my business in a way that enhances society Can I do so without depleting it How can my company better balance the bottom line in the long term How can I influence the &lsquopolitics&rsquo of constituencies that express a view on how I run my business &mdash government shareholders community employees NGOs and civil societyppstrongGiven this broad set of challenges as you have just described is it more difficult to be an effective manager today why or why not What is an emerging trend you see around the role of managers in the last five yearsstrongbr As I have tried to explain in my book there are 4 As The core training of a manager is in the first two As of accomplishment and affability The emerging challenges are more and more in the next two As of advocacy and authenticity During my career of 45 years I have seen the shift in the balance accelerating during the last decadeppstrongWhat is the biggest mistake you see new managers make What is your message to themstrongbr The biggest mistake managers make &mdash and I have certainly made them &mdash are not recognising and managing their personal derailers such as arrogance lack of openness narcissism and so on These are good forces in limited doses but negative in excess or inappropriately timed doses In other words we all know the enemy of our careers it is ourselvesppstrongWhat is the difference between management and leadership strongbr The difference lies not in some pedantic definition but in the reality of perception Management is perceived and associated with the industrial and business world Leadership on the other hand is broad and is sought in every field whether business teaching or governmentppstrongWhat are the new skills a manager needs to acquire at a time of increased stake-holder scrutiny and economic uncertaintystrongbr This is an excellent question because it is futuristic Compared to when I began my career entrepreneurs and business managers are becoming more and more key to social and economic development of societies and nations Their accountability is greater and public scrutiny also increases Hence the effects of economic uncertainty and the stakeholder scrutiny are for real they are not once-off or chancy events This requires the manager to learn new skills I have used the expression &ldquohe or his&rdquo as a shorthand for both genders My apologiesppFirst the manager must learn to get things done from people he does not control In other words he must learn to influence without any hierarchy or command and control structure Followers must follow him because they want to do so not because they need to do soppSecond the manager needs to learn how to be authentic to a wide array of segments Otherwise his influence and credibility will get diluted He needs to be seen as decisive yet listening to everybody he needs to be perceived as firm yet empathetic he needs to be seen as wise yet learning all the time These are difficult things to do unless his self-awareness increasesppThird he needs to actively work at developing his intuition All the benefits of analytics and logic cease to flow after a certain stage At that point the leader needs to reflect try new things learn and try again the cumulative effect being an &ldquointuitive sense&rdquo The manager has to learn intuition&hellipbut all by himself as intuition is difficult to teachppstrongWhat effect does the internet have on the expectations of young people entering the work force The old command-and-control approach to managing won&rsquot work with them They want to know why If you explain the why they will respondstrongbr Your question is incisive Internet and technology in general has done wonderful things for managers but has also shortened attention spans The power of conversation has lost a bit between boss and subordinate between husband and wife and between parent and child Sure command and control won&rsquot do but distance and short attention spans prevent powerful conversations It is a huge dilemma That is why I have titled my last chapter as &ldquoAttention is a precious gift&rdquo And discussed precisely this subjectp

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