There is something VERY special in stepping into management shoes for the first time. I still remember that on my first day as a supervisor, it all of a sudden dawned on me that I actually held the future of my employee in my hands! I knew that when I took on that position, now almost 15 years ago, that I wanted to be the BEST manager that I could and that I wanted to do for my peeps, what my best supervisors did for me…make me feel valued while helping me bring out my best talents. I believe that this ability comes more natural for some, but that does NOT mean it can’t be learned, just like any other skill. When I coach clients on how to do this, I go into a LOT of detail, but the 3 steps we are going to talk about today are actually the very FIRST 3 things I do each and every time that I have led a team, or department. Come join me! Tip #1 – Setting the Tone – Setting the right tone from day 1 is paramount. And the perfect way to do just that is to start by meeting your staff in 2 ways: First, as a group, and then Next, one on one. It’s important to do both because you want your employees to get a sense of comradery by meeting all together first– doing so, sets an immediate tone of teamwork, that it’s important moving forward. It also gives you, as the team’s leader, a chance to deliver your mission and vision for your department. And here is where words are powerful – use words that unite, like we, and us. Everybody already knows you are the boss – if you feel the need to remind them, then call me – we need to talk! The reason it’s also important to meet with your employees one on one, is because you want to show them that they are important enough to you AND the department to do so. Tip #2 – The 1:1 Done Right – Taking the time to meet with your staff 1:1 after your group meeting, not only sets the right tone, but shows that they as an individual are valuable to you. And during this meeting, what you want to do, is to ask some vital questions, while alleviating fears they may have with this new change. Every time I meet with a new staff member, I ask 1) what do you love about your current position, 2) what would you like to do less of, 3) what do you never get to do that you would love to do, if given the chance. Questions like these can really help you match employee talent with the right position, which could be ALL that you need to do in order to establish a strong foundation of employee morale and productivity. Last but not least, make sure that you wrap up your meeting by alleviating ANY fears that your employees may have with having you as the “new kid in town.” There are some managers that swoop in and change things JUST for the sakes of changing things, which is a very poor way to lead. Reassure your folks that your goal instead will be to get their feedback on big changes because you “trust those that live it,” and watch their loyalty to you, and their job, soar. Tip #3 - Practice What You Preach – The quickest way to lose support from your staff, decrease moral AND decrease productivity, is to say one thing, and do another. You gotta put your big pants on when you step into leadership – if you want to not only have great success for both your department AND your employees, then you can’t be known for empty promises. Your people will understand if some things don’t work out the way that you would have hoped, but if this is the rule, and not the exception, then you will quickly lose credibility, and rightfully so. Instead, “under-promise and over-deliver,” so that you can be known for keeping your word and working hard on behalf of your department.
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