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Self-Management #1 Growth Opportunity for New Managers

Frustrated in New Job? Part 2 – Self Management

Leadership Self-Management

In my previous blog post on the new series Frustrated in New Job? 4 Growth Opportunities for New Managers, -  I named self-management as the #1 growth opportunity for new managers. Demonstrating professionalism and the corresponding behaviors are critical to success for young or inexperienced managers – so it helps to train how to self-manage.  Supporting leaders here will show strong impact on performance of the individual and their team.

The areas involved  can range from setting boundaries,  execution of appropriate professional behavior, managing moods and tempers, engaging in gossip,  and time management – amongst others.

Picture this: Susan and Jenn have been working in the same store for several months. They are peers – frequently working similar shifts in a fast food franchise. They have developed a friendship, and they often take their breaks together and chat. Naturally, the topic of issues in the store comes up, and they also talk about fellow employees. Sometimes they laugh, other times they vent their frustrations about other staff in the store. Since Susan has been in the job for a while and has proven herself to be a capable and talented employee, she applies for and is promoted to the position of assistant store manager.

Where are the professional boundaries? Susan has stepped into a new position and needs to step into completely new behaviors – no one has prepared her for it. How will existing relationships with peers or her boss change? How will this new position and the new responsibilities change their behaviors and their accountabilities? Is everyone clear? What new actions and routines are expected of Susan in her new position?

Then Susan’s stress increases. Her husband gets into an accident and  Susan has a hard time managing the stress of worrying, caring for him plus performing in her new position. She feels she needs to offload some of the stress by confiding in Jenn and a couple of the other staff members she has known for a while. Pretty soon the gossip mill is active and word is getting around that Susan is being very moody and emotional.  Her boss tells her that several employees feel she is becoming ineffective in her role and not able to maintain professional behavior under stress. Susan is furious, not to mention extremely hurt. How is it that could no one could understand her situation?

Several pointers and perspectives are helpful in self-management skills:

  • New positions need new role understanding and new behavior. Discussions what this new role demands from Susan should be arranged with the boss as well as, to a lesser degree with her former peers. Transparency around her new duties and accountabilities will make it easier for everyone to adapt to the change in the management team.
  • Susan needs to get clear on her professional boundaries. What does it look like/sound like/feel like to be a professional in her position? Her manager and/or a coach can help to sort this out. A good start is this question: Whom does Susan consider to be professional? What does the ideal role model look like? Managing tempers and not sharing every emotion may also have another silver lining: not indulging in our most desperate feelings and concentrating on certain everyday tasks at hand can help distracting us a little from the home stresses for a few hours – which can serve as a relief of sorts.
  • New managers frequently revert back to performing some of their old responsibilities, rationalizing that they can do it so much better. This may be true, but it is not what they are paid for. Effective time management is a function of planning plus effective delegation – the art of saying  “no” to tasks that should be done by someone else, and “yes” to new responsibilities, even if there the learning curve is still tough, the tasks feel uncomfortable and the execution is initially clumsy. The “muscle” will only get stronger with exercise!

There is much more to self-management work, but I’d love to hear from you.   What are you experiencing? We welcome your comments and insights,  as always! Here on this blog, you will get commentluv. This is a plugin that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment.

Until next time,

Sabine

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