What To Do When You Are a Manager and Everyone Wants a Piece of You...
Being a manager sometimes feels like everyone is coming at you, from the beginning of the day to when you head home. A lot of people want your attention, your opinion, your approval or intervention. It feels like everyone wants a piece of you.
This is inherent to any leadership role.
It takes a significant amount of inner strength to absorb what feels like a daily onslaught and keep doing the right things. Being a leader means -- to some degree -- being a servant to the organization or the team. It's not that people personally want to attack you. It's the role that attracts attention. Welcome it. It's a sign that people care.
There are, however, ways to cope effectively. Here are some practical tips from my own experiences:
-Start with you: be aware of your available time and energy.
-Monitor both carefully.
-Breathe deeply. (Seems insignificant, but it's quite important.)
-Carve out some thinking time every day. Just 5-10 minutes, if that's all you can manage. Take deeper thought-dives when your mind is relaxed. On weekends, for example.
-Align with your organization's higher leadership.
-Create a shared vision of what you and your team are trying to achieve.
-Plan. Lay out a plan for what you want you and the team to accomplish. Update it often.
-Communicate the plan.
-Be proactive. Get ahead of issues. Minimize being reactive.
-Say “no” to snap responses.
-Show up at work with an open mind; fight the urge to have a closed mind. Be open to understanding things objectively, no matter how you feel inside.
-Build trust in your team.
-Delegate effectively and in a graduated way, starting from small things and building to bigger things based on each person’s abilities.
-Focus on balanced, objective communication. Draw attention to facts and goals, and try to keep adjectives to a minimum. Remember also that some people don't get the message the first or even the second time around. Be consistent with your messaging.
-When things don't work out, ask, “What did we learn?” Don't blame people.
-Focus on issues.
-Listen hard. Ask constructive questions. When people need to answer questions, they have to think about the answers. Everyone learns from thinking for themselves. As the leader, you learn by switching your mind from a pattern of telling to asking; you learn by listening actively and hearing the answers to your questions.
-Keep learning, modifying, adapting as you and your team grow.
-Rinse and repeat.
If you have any additional thoughts or comments, please feel free to share them. We get better by learning from each other.