What is this Balance we are talking about? I believe this is the greatest internal conflict many of managers are having. Finding balance between personal ambitions/recognition/achievements as individual and motivation/success of your team members as part of our own self-career realisation.
Of course, any person becoming a people manager have to be ready to assume responsibility for others, help others grow. Most of us know this and are willing to help as many people/businesses as possible.
Many of us are seeing even the sense of being through helping other people achieving their goals. And this is what I consider the most honorable part of being a team manager.
However, how to not forget about our own ambitions? What if you have an internal voice speaking inside “I am tired to respond for actions I never did” ,“this person X will never understand that I wish him/her best” ,“ I am stuck between my team and higher management” – and I truly believe there is no shame in this. This is definitely not a definition of a good or bad manager. The theory example mentioned above is probably more relevant to managers working for other larger companies, middle level managers facing daily operations.
I have always been willing to become a people manager, lead the department, once I achieved this step, I was surprised of my own feelings – the conflict we have spoken about, has reached me too. Maybe due to the lack of experience at that time, or just past background as individual contributor, not really sure. But what I knew for sure is that I have to find the balance.
- Firstly, clarity with my team, I found it very important to approach the team and be honest with them. I have opened myself up, explaining that this is my first experience as a leader, and I want to learn every day how to become a better one together with them.
- Open a feedback channel, be ready to accept feedback, ask for it constantly.
- Know your strengths and knowledge, by understanding deeply your own qualities – you will truly believe in yourself, creating this way a confidence and a reasonable authority with your team members. Yes, all of us have something to improve, however we reached the place we are now in because we deserved it, because we are truly good at something.
- Be a mentor, offer solutions, do not talk about unrealistic topics and be transparent, always respectful. However, do not forget to ask the same back from the team. Respect for respect, solutions for a will to receive them. By this I also mean, do not accept complains – accept proposals of changes to be done. ( I will be talking further about this in the future articles)
- Remember rewarding your team members even for smallest achievements, and do not forget to do the same for your personal ones. Just tell yourself – I have been a mentor in this achievement, I deserve to respect myself as well.
- Protect your team. Yes, I know, this is incredibly hard to defend team interests against company interests sometimes. I have encountered one and only solution to this – Be transparent! Tell the team what you are trying to achieve for them, however, be honest about what are the company needs as well. Unfortunately, often business has to make decisions on its own, and it is our duty to make team understand that.
To conclude my message, I would like to share this personal experience hoping someone might feel identified and willing to try these suggestions. Little grain of sand in our community. Stay healthy and safe!
VP of Business Development & Operations at LIVT