Patrick Obita is the managing director, of The Manager Resource Centre a group for managers. Obita says he started the group because he realised managers could interact and provide each other with support.
“There is so much expectation from the people you lead and your clients. However, dealing with different kinds of people to get results requires continuous assessment and learning to lead,” he explains.
The group is composed of managers and team leaders in public service, private sector, international and non-governmental organisations to exclusively share their knowledge, challenges and be enlightened on new tactics that can improve the working environment.
“It is easier to learn from one another’s experiences and testimonies since they are swimming in the same waters,” Obita remarks.
From the group chat Obita says shares the top things managers wish their employees knew.
What managers want
Obita opines that managers are not superhuman, but normal people and would like to be treated as normal people. They have to work as a team because more can be achieved.
Managers have a lot to accomplish, so they value time. They resent being viewed as pushy by the organisational “foot soldiers” who sometimes force them to do the “pushing”.
Managers communicate effectively and efficiently for their message to be passed in a clear and simple manner. They want eployees who are proactive and not wait to be told what they have to do every time. It means they need to take initiative and get on with work, he justifies.
Obita spells out a few traits that managers cannot stand at the workplace. “The ‘I don’t care attitude that some employees just do not put in any effort when it comes to assignments given to them. They do not follow up or even seek clarity when given tasks they do not understand, choosing to deliver substandard work,” he explains.
He adds, “Uncooperative staff, liars who want to show that they are producing results when they are not because they are incompetent and never up to the task. Also those who do not work as a team and are usually aloof. Staff that don’t learn and are not teachable. This is draining.”
According to Obita, it is vital to set the ground rules from the onset about what you like and dislike. This removes the guesswork most employees have with their managers about what it is they like and do not like.
A manager will find it beneficial working with someone who gets them.
Doing your work very well will help in having a good relationship. Obita affirms, one becomes more likeable because of the good results as it makes the manager look good in the sight of their supervisors.
Employees need to be intentional and try to create rapport with them. Ask what it is they want you to do better.
Managers like people who seek out their views and how best they can support their team members to get better. It shows that the person is willing to learn and as such they will create time for you.
The importance of listening
Being an administrator of a group with more than 100 leaders, has taught Obita the art of listening more.
“When I had just started out in employment, I was brash and loud. I thought that my ideas were the best and did not expect criticism. Until one of my supervisors told me to keep quiet and listen after I had given a presentation and people were critiquing it,” he relates.
This, he says was an eye opener. “And this is what is happening even to our day to day work space; a manager talks for 90 per cent and the employees talk for 10 per cent. Realistically, there is no effective communication because one suppresses the ideas, innovativeness, accrued action plans they have and they know what works,” he notes.
The art of listening enables one to listen to what other people are saying and what ideas they have. The more you listen, the better you get.
“I learnt to take notes from feedback about any of my presentations and jot down my mind so that I do not waste people’s time. It has worked for me because I have learnt to read, analyse people and if one cannot keep quiet, people will start to ignore what you say,” the manager says.