By Dr. Ginny Trierweiler
In my last two posts, I addressed five keys to becoming effective in a new management position:
1. Get Clarity about Your New Role
2. Acknowledge Power Differences
3. Give Clear Expectations and Feedback
4. Coach Employees to Success
5. Choose Your Battles
Now, I’m adding another key to achieving a successful transition to management.
6. Be Honest and Transparent about Your Focus and Intentions. As your responsibilities shift, your perspective will change somewhat. While you can still see what your former peers see, you can now see more of the big picture needs of the organization.
It’s likely that you used to commiserate together with colleagues about how management just doesn’t get it. It’s very common that front-line staff feel management doesn’t really understand their perspective. For example, in a community mental health center, front-line staff are very well-trained professionals who directly serve customers. They juggle the challenges of helping clients, meeting productivity standards, and coping with constantly changing paperwork requirements. Sometimes, tit looks to them like management sits around thinking up ways to make their lives difficult, while all they’re doing is trying to help people!
If you’re like me, you are determined to be a manager who understands and supports line staff, rather than adding to their burdens.
At the same time, now that you are part of the management team, you begin to see what drives the adding of standards and requirements. From this perspective, it makes sense and you understand why you need to communicate new expectations to your former peers. And you know front line staff will experience the new requirements as an annoying burden.
This new opportunity to see both perspectives puts you in a position to really make a positive difference. It makes you an invaluable part of the team. Of course, it also puts you in a bind. How can you manage to hold both perspectives and create value in these situations?
In supervision meetings with people you supervise, you may need to address specific standards, which they may wish you would ignore. That might look like “I do want to hear about your challenging customer or client situation today. And, we need to address specific ways to address access and responsiveness standards. It is really important for us to nail that this month. Let’s make sure to leave time to discuss both.” It may not be beneficial to jump on the “these standards are stupid” bandwagon.
When your supervisor presses you about achieving the standards, you may say that you’re studying the barriers and need time to work with the team to come up with solutions. You may inquire about other groups that are achieving the standards and seek our their lessons learned.
Be clear and transparent about your focus. What is most important is that you stay in integrity while you are learning and adapting to a new role. Be transparent with everyone about your focus and intentions. And avoid throwing anyone under the bus!
Dr. Ginny Trierweiler is a leadership coach who has devoted her life to releasing the unique brilliance of each individual. A psychologist and an experienced executive leader, she loves to mentor leaders, managers, and executives to release their brilliance!
Please call or email if you would like to talk to me about consulting or coaching.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-443-5056