Management Skills for New Supervisors
As our society continues to evolve from the “do as I say” mantra, gone are the days of the command and control style of managing work teams. In the past, supervisors focused strictly on implementing checks and controls, placing operational issues before strategic priorities and viewing employees as disposable subordinates often using some form of subliminal psychological intimidation disguised as rewards and disincentives as a means for controlling the work unit. We are now seeing a new type of management style emerge – one that is inclusive, that treats staff as colleagues, encourages and empowers employees to be their best as well as encourages constructive dissent.
Leadership skills for the new manager requires engaging in self awareness, fully understanding the personal and professional dynamics of your team while seeking to expand and nurture your professional network with a high level of authenticity in order to achieve optimal results.
Engaging in Self Awareness
Socrates said, “Know thy self”. Becoming self-aware is a continuous process. In order to know yourself you must begin by asking what motivates you to succeed. Is it the thrill of the victory and personal gratification or are you more concerned with ensuring that everyone within your sphere of influence is enhanced professionally? It is incumbent upon you to identify what triggers an emotional response and manage the reaction accordingly.
In addition, it is helpful to take a step back and analyze the behaviors of the people who managed you in the past. It is suggested that you duplicate those behaviors that inspired you to be your personal best and ditch those behaviors that caused you to cringe at the sight of your supervisor. For example, if you were inspired by manager that sought to develop you professionally, by all means adopt the trait. Conversely, if you worked for a manager who continually diminished your accomplishments or portrayed your ideas for their own, monitor yourself and refrain from taking on the same posture.
Understanding the Personal and Professional Dynamics
Each person on your team is an individual with strengths and weaknesses. As a new manager, you may be working with individuals spanning across several generational categories i.e., baby-boomers, generation Xers etc. Effective managers build a cohesive team by identifying and communicating the core mission of the team, playing to the strengths of each individual, removing weaknesses through professional development and steering people to work toward the common goal as a collective rather than as individuals.
Open and frequent communications is imperative to understanding the personal and professional dynamics of your team. This does not mean that you have to be “best friends” in order to influence the people supervise, but it does mean that you should be transparent and authentic in your communications style. Take the posture of actively listening to the needs and concerns of your team members. Be completely engaged in the moment without any outside distractions i.e., phone calls or emails; listen with a non-judgmental ear and master the art of using silence as a tool to enhance your listening skills.
Nurture Your Professional Network with a High Level of Authenticity
In the age where social media is king, we may have inadvertently lost some of our ability to make long lasting, sustainable relationships. Why? Because our constant use electronic media as our primary source for interaction has numbed our ability to connect on a human level.
You cannot operate in a vacuum nor can you simply place your head in the sand and hope for the best. Can you easily identify your professional network? In short, everyone you interact with is part of your professional network; the people you depend on as well as the people who depend upon you. Begin building relationships based on common ground. What do you know about the people in your network, what do you have in common, what activities, hobbies and passions do you share? By taking the time to build genuine relationships you have the opportunity to create sustainable professional coalitions with people who can see your vision and potentially gain their support for future work endeavors.
Becoming self aware, understanding the dynamics of your team and building your professional network will help you succeed as a new manager in the workplace.