Why do so many new supervisors fail at motivating their team? One reason is because they often lose sight of their responsibilities. They believe the task at hand is the most important thing to be accomplished. In the rush to get the task completed new supervisors often miss the point of helping their staff to grow and develop. They also lose sight of allowing themselves to do the same.
When an inexperienced staff member struggles with a task, a new leader often takes over the entire task. S/He does this instead of providing patient guidance to the struggling employee(s). This is often motivated by fear of being judged by her/his own supervisor for the tasks that are to be completed by her/his team rather than for her/his success as a leader.
To compound the problem, often the new supervisor’s problem is not an inexperienced employee who is struggling but an employee who has chosen to perform the task in a manner different from the way the new supervisor used to perform it.
The result is the same. The new supervisor is now trying to perform in two or possibly even more jobs; her/his original job(s) that he was promoted from and her/his new supervisory position. S/He ends up stretching herself/himself too thin, neglecting her/his staff’s growth, and performing poorly in all of these jobs.
Refusing to Let Go, Figure 1
It can be worse when the new supervisor is responsible for areas that s/he did not have any direct involvement in prior to becoming a leader. Often a fear of “being discovered” as a fraud sets in. There is a feeling of, “I must know it all, but I don’t”. In an effort to conceal the fact that he does not know all of the answers, he becomes one of the worst leaders around; an unreasonable control freak.
If you are in a leadership position make sure that you give your staff not only the support and direction that they need but also the room that they need in order to grow into their position. Remember your job is to be a motivator. You can’t motivate others to carry out their responsibilities if you don’t let them actually do their jobs.
Take the time now to improve your leadership skills and your efforts won’t be wasted. Whether in the office, at home or in social situations the ability to motivate, influence and inspire will provide many tangible and intangible rewards.
There is an element of leadership that most of our society hates. In fact this one leadership skill is the most feared activity of our society – it is of course public speaking.
By John Moore