Is fear of management holding you back?
In his series of thought provoking articles Steve Shellabear, Managing Director of dancing lion looks at why and how fear may be holding you back in your management of your contact centre.
Do you want to progress in management but are wary of what it might involve?
Does it look like taking on more responsibility is a potential headache waiting to happen? Perhaps the organisation where you work has some serious challenges, which you think will just get worse as soon as you are in post.
You may be right. However something we fear can often become a self -fulfilling prophecy. But, if you’ve accurately assessed the situationabove then at least you have a starting point to work from and your eyes are open.
Most people who move up the management ladder have at times thought:
‘What am I doing here? Did I make the right decision?Or ‘I must be mad!’
Fear of moving outside of our psychological comfort zone can stop us realising our potential. To get beyond this we have to have a desire to have something happen that is bigger than our concerns or considerations.
This might seem easier said than done but if you’ve been lucky enough to be managed by someone that that made a positive difference to you professionally or personally, then you have a positive memory to refer back to.Maybe they treated you with respect, listened to you and let you know that you were valued. Perhaps they challenged your thinking, believed in you when you doubted yourself, or had a great sense of humour and made work fun.
Whatever they did, if as you think of them now, you remember you felt good around them then likely you feel good now too.
But what do you do if you haven’t been so fortunate and don’t have a good role model to remember?
Then you at least you know how you would have liked to have been treated.
Our own experience tells us that the impact wehave, as managers cannot be underestimated. Our communication is key. We can make a lasting positive difference to those we work with or the very opposite.
According to Behnam Tabrizi, a Global Business Consultant,
“A manager’s failure to communicate effectively has lasting – and powerful – consequences: a negative interaction with their supervisor or leader affects employee perceptions FIVE time as much as a positive one.”
(B Tabrizi: What Sets Effective Managers Apart)
So, no surprises there! But what qualities or skills do you need to show to be a good manager?
John Adair and other recognised thinkers on leadership skills have identified some common characteristics of what makes a good manager. These include,
– ‘Positive and enthusiastic’ – So do you have a passion for you do? We know that positive energy can be contagious so the tip here is spread it around!
– Are you able to give feedback? Feedback has been described as the ‘breakfast of champions’. How good are you at ‘telling it like it is’ AND having people hear your feedback as useful and constructive?
– ‘Do you have integrity? ’ Would you describe yourself as trustworthy and you do what you say you will do? Many of us fall short of the expectations we have of ourselves but to what degree is it important to you? Do you value integrity?
– Do you have warmth?- Can you be kind and forgive mistakes rather than hold a grudge. (Not because you are a ‘goody two shoes’ – but because you want to move on rather than carrying the negative energy into the next situation.)
– Are you able to make good objective decisions? If so you will likelyhave good troubleshooting and problem solving skills to fall back on.
– Can you be courageous? Can you stand firm in the face of extreme difficulty? It can be easy to take the soft option but if you want respect, from self and others, then taking a stand when necessary is essential.
– Would friends or work colleagues describe you as tough but fair?’ You may not always get it 100% right but do you endeavour to be strong and even-handed, without having favourites? This is so important in managing a team and frequently overlooked.
– ‘Empathy’ – Can you fully give your attention and listen to others? Do you notice how others feel, as well as the facts and intentions behind the words? If so, what do you choose to do with the information? Do you use it to build bridges with the other, letting them know you know how they feel? Or in a conflict situation do you judge them and make yourself or your own position right?
– Leadership – Can you provide clear leadership in a style to match the situation, varying your approach to suit the person?
This is not a definitive list. We could add time management, monitoring and reporting skills and more. The emphasis is on ‘people skills’ in the list above. Of course great processes and systems help but it is people that fundamentally make the difference and make the systems work or not.
As we know, these tips are just words on a page unless you can take them on and make them your own. Until you do they will remain something ‘out there’ rather than values and ways of working ‘in you’ that make a difference to you and your team. If you’ve read this far then developing yourself or your management team could be the best investment you’ll make.
Steve Shellabear is Managing Director of dancing lion
dancing lion training & consultancy provide tailored training programmes in management, sales and customer service excellence.