Are you the new manager or supervisor? This new experience can be extremely stressful. Most companies do not provide any type of training when making a move to promote. You know you received a promotion based on your technical expertise, not because of your managerial skills.
Everyone now sees you as the person who makes decisions and should have all the right answers. How quickly can you understand, rules, policies, and guidelines? Guidelines and policies are in place to help you navigate through the day-to-day positives and negatives.
Understand your co-workers that you considered your friends may not handle your new role as well as you would have liked? Will upper management except your management style that has yet to be developed? Have you ever made the comment “if I were in charge things would be different”?
Will corporate politics derail your great ideas on changing your environment for the better? Everyone in management has gone through the transition from individual contributor to team leader/manager and people find their own way to “survive.” The following suggestions will help you keep your perspective and your health to get you started.
- Monitor your work hours
Monitoring your work hours will be easy to do, because when you work late you realize decisions that have to be made, such as, are you eating dinner at home or should you stop what your doing and get something to eat so you can continue working? You should estimate the hours you think you will need to work late.
If you do not need to stay after hours that is great, but if you do set limits and stick to them. Even if you are lucky enough that you can take advantage of new technology such as a secure token or some sort of remote login to your network, remember the number of hours you work over-time can have a burn out effect.
- Recognize signs of stress
Recognize signs of stress quickly. Everyone stresses out in different ways. Some people are quiet when stressed, others have “blow ups.” Be aware if your home life starts changing, family and friends should gauge if your personality is changing. Are you distancing yourself from close friends and family because you worked late? Some people get very forgetful or lose concentration, and can be short-tempered. Know your signs of stress.
- Mentor or a Coach
Make sure you have a mentor or a coach, this will be important to keep you moving in the right direction. There are many undocumented rules of behavior or corporate do’s and don’ts you will need to hurdle over while you build your momentum. Your manager will be the first place to turn until you can build your networking skills to find a career mentor. Having lunch with managers from other departments is always a great way to get insight into the happenings around you.
- Learn to delegate
Delegating is giving others the responsibility and authority to carry out tasks. You maintain the accountability to get them done, but you let others decide how they will carry out the tasks themselves. Delegation is a skill to learn. Start learning it.
Communicate, communicate, communicate, cannot be said enough. Ninety percent of what you do should be communicating upward, downward, and sideways. You should hold regular meetings with your staff. The reactive approach is to meet just when new information is available or there is a fire to put out.
The proactive approach is to meet with employees regardless. The idea is to build relationships and to prevent fires from occurring. There is always something to communicate, even if to say that things are going well.
- Incidents & Problems
Based on the number of employees you have you could spend everyday dealing with employees who abuse time and attendance, missed deadlines, employee family emergencies, performance problems, team chemistry issues. You will have to learn through time or through your mentor on how to respond to the numerous situations that can occur through out the week.
Should you wear the “Fire Hat” or the “Police Hat,” each day, each hour it can be the opposite extremes. As you move forward with experience, you quit responding to the incident and instead respond to the problem that caused the incident. You learn basic skills in conflict resolution with employees, your manager, as well as with sub-contractors/vendors.
- Ask for training
Senior management should understand your need to receive training for career development. You know your employees need training as well. What kind of job training programs does the company offer? Who makes the decision? How much is in the budget for training? What is your training philosophy? Should you make sure your employees are more effective in their present jobs or help to prepare them for the future?
- Recognize accomplishments
Organizational culture is design to reward problem solvers or the person with the highest sales in a department. Make sure to reward those unsung hero’s who perform outstanding work behind the scenes. Definitely acknowledge accomplishments, if only by having a good laugh by the coffee machine, monetary company bonuses, and communicate thank you notes to your people by e-mail.
Doing simple things to let your people know you care. Give out movie tickets or restaurant gift certificates, these work very well when you need to give on the spot recognition. Lunch can be a rewarding experience.
Most important, you must understand that management is a process, you never really complete your “things-to-do” list. With experience, you will learn to relax and let autopilot engage. If you have ever complained about management now is your chance to make sure that learning happens and that productivity and morale are improved. You are the future. Good Luck to you!
By Bryan Oliver