Here’s the scene: you have just been promoted to a managerial position. Congratulations!
Does it seem scary?
But as you take over your new job with responsibilities for your team, do you feel fully prepared? Is excitement draining away to be replaced by apprehension? Perhaps that old demon on your shoulder is telling you that you won’t be able to do this. And the managerial course that you took, what does that mean for you now; how can you use your knowledge from that? How does it translate into real life?
Welcome to the world of people management, inexact and ever challenging.
There is no doubt that you will learn as you go along but getting things wrong offers the harsh experience of “dog’s law” and heartache.
But there are many managers like you who worry about managing people, balancing the needs of individuals with the company’s expectations whilst you are treading water. Why is it that many managers find it difficult to manage people? After all that should be the focus of their role.
Time to take control
Firstly take comfort in your “right to manage”. This doesn’t mean that you become dictatorial or over bearing. However, it does mean that your organisation has vested in you certain autonomy, a confidence in your ability. It is now down to you to work out how to create and enhance your working relationships, inspiring your team to perform well and attain the company aims. The good news is that whilst there are certainly a few people who seem to have an innate ability to lead and manage, it is something that can be learned.
However, it takes time and you will need to understand yourself, how you come across to others and understand that other people have emotional baggage. They may not see the world in the same way that you do. In fact it is pretty certain that you won’t be able to see eye to eye with everyone all the time.
Build good relationships – it takes time!
Good relationships are based on trust and a mutual sense of belonging. This does take time to nurture and is a delicate thing, easily destroyed. If you steam-roll your way through managing people, treating them as an extension of machinery or systems, you will build resistance and resentment instead of commitment and cooperation. It is very likely that you will lose good people.
By understanding that another person’s view on the world is shaped by their own experience, culture and beliefs you will see that the world can appear totally different from their perspective than from yours. And neither view is more right or wrong: they are both possibilities.
Listening – it’s a key skill
Listen to your team and dispense with any assumptions that occur to you about your team. You will then begin to understand what makes your people tick and find the best way to communicate with each individual. Spend time getting to know each other, respect different opinions and you will build a sense of mutual support and understanding.
Undeniably, your workplace is a social community where people interact and work collaboratively. This is so even when people work remotely and contact others electronically. They will form a “tribe” and seek to belong. In fact, people who are in contact through email or VOIP or social platforms can have more interaction with their colleagues than those who work in parallel work stations. Your team’s sense of belonging and view of you will impact on their commitment to their work and indeed the organisation.
Emotional connection links to communication
Does this mean that you will be walking on egg-shells, tentative in how you approach your team? Not a bit of it. Your evident enthusiasm and optimism mixed with transparency will grow two-way trust and respect. Be aware of how you are perceived. Remember that all eyes are on you and any slip in your integrity will be seen by and affect all.
People can be unpredictable and their emotional state is important. Resentment can build up, hurt leading to anger and obstruction over misunderstood intentions. How you communicate is as important as the message itself. Think of how you will ensure their understanding and don’t assume that everyone will grasp the full meaning and implication of your message: you will need to use different methods and check comprehension.
Your management skills must recognise adverse emotions in your team. Your frequent interactions and genuine interest in each individual will create a stable work environment, free from conflict. Enthusiasm is strangely infectious but so is damaging rumour and conjecture within a communication vacuum. Be ever on your guard against expressing negativism as this can sabotage your good efforts in building motivation.
Fairness and equity
It is important that you do not treat everyone in the same manner but that you treat everyone fairly and consistently. I hope you can see the difference. You will treat people in the way that each person appreciates, as an individual and with respect for them as a person. For example, some people like to work quietly. However, some people need the company of others if they re not to feel isolated. Get to understand the different ways in which people want to work. Treat people with respect, transparency and honesty, seeking to include everybody.
Remember that everyone is capable of doing good work and generating ideas. Even the quietest person has their story to tell. Time spent recognising and improving your emotional intelligence will improve your people management capability immensely. This is an ongoing quest that will empower and enrich you personally throughout your career.
Grow to be a Fantastic Manager!
© all rights reserved: Christine de Caux