Wednesday, August 02, 2006

dear hip tranquil chick . . .

Q: I am being promoted at work in the next week and will have about ten people who I will be managing. The idea of being in charge of people really scares me. I feel afraid to ask people to do things in case they say no because some people are quite jealous as I have always been on their 'level' up until now. I know I am fully capable of the work load, but it's the managing people and making important decisions part that scares me. I am a quiet person which makes it more difficult. This is too good an opportunity to miss though. I am being thrown in at the deep end really! My boss just expects me to know what I'm doing, and when I told him certain people would probably make things difficult for me, he basically said its tough and I would have to get on with the job. At the same time as this I am moving into my new house with my boyfriend in less than two weeks! It's all a lot to take in!!

A: Ah, my dearest, I hear you. Managing is tough, especially when you were once their peer and are now you're their manager. From what I hear, that is one of the hardest scenarios. I've seen in play out in former environments and know how tricky it can be. But with the right mindset and skills, you'll become a fabulous chick-in-charge. It is an ongoing learning experience.

Here are my top tips for holding your boundaries while pushing your edge in management:

1. Set up a meeting with your new team one-on-one to take a pulse, see what they need, share your vision for your role. This allows you to get to know them individually, see what motivates them, and see how they're feeling overall with their position in a safe setting.
2. Set up an overall team meeting to set team goals. Begin to set a team dynamic. Reward the team when goals are met. Honor individuals who go above and beyond publicly in these regular meetings. Let the team know about your open door policy.
3. Avoid being everyone's new BFF. You are their manager. Stand tall. You were given this role because your boss believes in you. Own it.
4. When problems arise with your team, address it immediately, and document it in their files.
5. Have regular meetings with your boss to get support, share your successes, and request feedback.
6. Set daily, monthly, and long-term planning for your role. Always start with your biggest project at the beginning of the day. Ask yourself, "What is the best use of my time right now?" As a manager, sometimes that will involve putting out other people's fires.
7. Find a mentor. It may be your boss or it may be a local woman who you admire. Either way, having a support network is key.
8. Don't take things personally. I know, I know, this one is VERY hard. Remember that most people's reactions are not about you, they are about them.
9. Be your own cheerleader or look to it from your beau or best girlfriend. It's lonely at the top and sometimes your boss won't have the energy to support you. Pat yourself on the back. Keep a "praise" folder in your in box to reread when you feel unappreciated. Keep a running list of your bigger achievements in your role!
10. You must delegate. No question. If you are indispensible, you are doing your company a big disservice. Your role should be documented, your team should be able to fill in for you if necessary, and you must be able to pass things along or you won't have time to do bigger picture work in your role.

A few books I love are The Girl's Guide to Being a Boss (without being a bitch), Managing for Dummies, and The E-Myth. Fellow hip tranquil chicks, any additional words of wisdom for our newly promoted chick-in-charge? Please share.

A HUGE congrats on your new role and please keep us posted on how it unfolds. Now with regard to the move, this is a lot to happen in a short amount of time. Separate the tasks - one is personal, one is professional - and be sure to take some much-needed down time.

Have a yoga or lifestyle question you'd like some hip and tranquil input on? If so, e-mail

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Missy said...

When I was starting a new life in a new city, in a new job in a new culture early last year, one initiative I took on for myself was to spend 30 minutes every Friday afternoon--even if I had to force myself to do it--documenting my accomplishments, my questions, my doubts, my observations, and my immediate goals and needs. Doing this activity late on Friday helped me wind down from the week and clear my head for the weekend as well as establish a loose agenda for the next week. Although we can't always be thinking short-term lest we miss the larger picture, this process will help ease the first six or so months and increase your own self-awareness while developing your awareness of your team's collective and individual needs. Good luck! (The anticipation is the hardest part; you'll find a rhythm soon enough.)

zoe said...

Brilliant advice :)