As a kid, I vividly remember my father regularly reading with great interest a particular page from the Times of India. it was the daily column on births, deaths, etc. In his own quirky way, he would call them as Hatch (births), Patch (matrimonials) and Dispatch (deaths). Needless to say, I picked up the habit and till date I religiously read these columns. It is a constant reminder of how beautiful life is with new beginnings happening all the time, and at the same time, keeps me grounded on reality.
When I view my professional journey, I see similar stages.
Sharing an analogy of the same:
Hatch – the birth of our professional self
Do you remember the first day of your first job? I recall being a bundle of nerves with so many emotions running through my heart. I was excited and at the same time filled with dread – would I be able to perform? Did I know how to do what was expected of me?
As the days went by, I learned the difference between college teachings and reality from the job. Nothing prepares you for office politics ever! There is no course ever on that in any class. This is that part of our lives wherein we learn not to drown and swim but find that sweet balance between sanity, ethics and professionalism.
Each time we shift gears and move across jobs, the first day is always a new experience that evokes mixed emotions. Some things remain sacrosanct – getting to know people and functions that are critical for collaboration.
Tip: Keep a mental note ready on how you would like to introduce yourself – make it peppy, fun, and infused with what makes you who you are.
Patch – moving from individual contributor role to that of a manager
Just as no theories or college practicals prepare you for that first day at work, there is no structured course that tells you how to manage teams. Organisations do have training programs for high potential employees that gear them towards strategic decision making and seeing the big picture. But handling teams is for many, an art that they pick up along the way.
The 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development outlines that employees learn and develop: –
- 70% from challenging assignments
- 20% from developmental relationships and
- 10% from coursework and training
Which means, almost 90% of your learning and growth is through your ability to handle your job, your performance, your teamwork, your style, and your openness towards giving and receiving candid feedback. Many times, it is the 20% that will play a key role since today’s agile working environment calls for a high degree of cross functional collaboration. Interpersonal traits assume importance and are often the harbinger for further growth.
Tip: To help you navigate your relationships, ensure you have either a mentor or a coach in this journey to shape your insights and new learnings.
Dispatch – being an effective leader through delegation
Almost all of us aspire to lead in our respective roles and functions. What makes for a successful leader? Of the many attributes related to effective leadership, one that stands out is delegation as opposed to micromanagement.
Delegation is about empowering your teams. It is about trusting them to own their jobs and doing it the right way. It is about letting go – wherein as a leader you do not exert your authority through control and/or change.
It is however the ‘letting go’ that can become quite challenging. One notices this more in an entrepreneurial environment where the owner has nurtured the organisation right from its inception. Imagine letting go of one’s baby! The second setting where one finds micromanagement more in vogue is when the team is new and relatively inexperienced. Here, the leader may want to handhold the team through every step. Be aware of your management style.
Tip: As a leader, share your experiences, provide regular feedback and have the communication channels open.
In the end, irrespective of whichever phase you are in your career, there are always opportunities to learn, grow and refine oneself.
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