Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Congratulations, You Have the Job!

Guest Post by Jay R. Kuhns

Wow!  My first management gig!  I'm actually going to supervise people.  I'm going to be the one they look up to...ask for guidance....seek out my sage advice...draw upon my years...err....months of experience.  This is going to be great!

"What do you mean my employees are as old as my parents?  Wait a minute....what?"

 I Was Young
At 27, I was fortunate to move into a formal management role as the Training and Development Manager for a Hospital.  I was so excited I could barely wait to hear about the team I was going to lead.  (Lesson #1 here - I didn't even know anything about the people I was going to supervise before I accepted the job!  Nice research, eh?) Why didn't I know?  Truth be told, I'd never had a leadership mentor in a work setting who could advise me along my journey.  Yes, I'd had good supervisors prior to getting the job, but they were not focused on my development as a future leader.  

There is a big difference between supervisors and mentors!  One person can absolutely serve in both capacities, but simply assuming that because you have a "nice boss" does not mean they are preparing you for the quantum leap forward known as your first management position.

I Was Motivated
Early on in my tenure my entire team was in conflict.  Well, since I was only supervising two employees and they were mad at each other, it's safe to say the entire team was in an uproar.  So I came up with a brilliant idea...all on my own...to put the issue behind us once and for all.  I decided to block off several hours on my calendar, bring in the two employees, and sit them across from each other while we worked things out.  I told them, in a supportive way, that I had cleared my calendar so we could take all the time we needed to make things right again.  (Boy, I was good!)  

OMG, I can't believe I actually did that!  How embarrassing.

Did I really understand the individual styles of my employees well enough to take such a confrontational stance with the situation?  (Lesson #2 - know your employees, and know how such a confrontational tactic could easily backfire.)  Did I actually believe that everything would be "OK" after my little torture session?

And to think I took pride in that approach.....OMG.

How About You
Getting your first big promotion to a leadership position is very exciting.  Being effective in that role is something very difficult however.  Here are three things to keep in mind as you stumble, fall, and most importantly get back up and keep improving:
  1. Accept the fact that you don't know it all yet.  Push yourself hard to learn.
  2. Seek out a mentor.  Now.
  3. Remember that you're in the job.  Act like you deserve to be there.  The organization hired you, not to be a wuss, but to step up, lead, grow, and lead some more.
So tell me, how are things going for you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Jay R. Kuhns is the Vice President of Human Resources for All Children's Hospital and Health System at Johns Hopkins Medicine.  You can read more from Jay at his blog No Excuses HR or follow him on Twitter @jrkuhns.

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