While talking to one of my friends (I will call him Ravi) who has 9 direct reports and 4 indirects (and who doesn’t have enough time to spend on each of his reports on non-technical topics), I realized that having more reports than you can handle is a serious but common problem, especially in places like India where there is scarcity of good leads and managers. I am scheduled to talk to Ravi to discuss some ideas about how to manage his reports in a way that they do not curse him 2 years later (when they realize it!) for not spending enough time with them now. And this has set me thinking about how I have managed this problems and others around me (who I admire as effective managers) have done so. I am also trying to read and learn from fellow bloggers on this topic.
Here are some of the aspects of this challenge that I hope I can find answers to:
- Managing performance: How does Ravi set performance objectives for teams and individuals so that he does not have to spend too much time directing day-to-day activities?
- Managing 1-1s: What is the most effective way for him to manage his 1-1s when he has so many reports?
- Managing work: While he is the smartest guy in the team, he is also the bottleneck. I also want to explore how he can manage his work (delegation or empowerment for example?) so that he still has time for himself and his family.
- Managing expectations: A manager as important as him (and holding as many resources) needs to manage expectations from other senior managers and executives. How does Ravi manage this without over-committing his team?
- Managing careers: The most important of all (at least in the mind of his reports), he needs to help people in his team build and grow their career as they work under his guidance. However, this takes time, patience, and some skills. How does Ravi manage this along with all the other responsibilities he has?
Hope you will find this series interesting.
PS: Here are the links to the subsequent posts