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Mindset. It’s a fancy word for what goes on when you talk to yourself. You do, don’t you? Doing it now, in fact. Now wait, don’t get distracted, because that’s exactly what can happen to a new manager. Newly promoted or recently transferred, new managers regularly get thrown into a detail laden environment. Some will quickly find their footing and some are better at faking it in the beginning until they have a clear understanding of their position, but most will struggle with a number of powerful, potentially dangerous issues and internal questions. Today’s Monday Moment will help you manage three of them.
If They are Thinking: “What am I supposed to be doing?”
First, they are, and so did you. New managers don’t always see the big picture you are privy to and they are missing many important details, often including a job description. Give them objectives based on each day in the first week, each week in the first month, and each month for the rest of their first quarter. Your sharing of clear objectives is not considered micromanagement, but called leadership. Add the sharing of clear expectations for how and when and in what way they reach those objectives and you not only clear up the question of what they are to be doing and how, but you get bonus points for being one thorough and effective leader.
If They are Thinking: “Am I doing my job well enough?”
Depending on confidence, experience, tenure, relationships, maturity, and skill set, a new manager may well be thinking this very thought every day in the first few months of taking on their new position. How long they think this and how much this question morphs from curiosity to debilitating insecurity, depends on who they are first. But second, those two outcomes also depend on how well you are leading those you’ve hired or promoted. How much praise and feedback and kudos do they need? Manage to provide what is needed accordingly. Do they need a big gold star or round of applause or merely need you to continuously dole out challenging tasks and action items? Find out and follow suit so they wonder no longer if the job they are doing is what you asked for and wanted.
If They are Thinking: “Did they send me ALL the difficult people?”
Unless you have hired or promoted a problem employee into a management position, this mindset is less common, but it does happen. A new manager who was recently an individual performer may struggle with the various differences in people. From generation to experience, to tenure and psychographic differences, people are different and in need of different approaches from their manager and leader. If a new manager is thinking they have an entire team of difficult people, help them first to understand their own expectations and then seek to raise their awareness of their own contribution to employee behavior, their influence over said behavior, and their skills in need of development in order to reach each team member. Then lead the efforts to get them those skills so the question becomes easily answered.
The mindset of those in management, matters. When new to the position, a manager will naturally come face to face with their confidence, social dynamics of fitting in or not, the pains of transitioning among those with whom they used to hang out, and often muddling through very unclear expectations. An involved leader can make a significant, long term, large impact on the new manager’s mindset and the team for which that manager has been given the privilege of leading. Stay involved and make that difference or your role may begin to look more like you’ve joined human resources instead of the ranks of functional leadership.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist who coaches, consults with, and speaks to leaders of all levels, building their skills, emotional intelligence and authenticity. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.