Recently, I ran across this letter from a relatively new manager who is finding that managing others can be a bit isolating sometimes.
May 15, 2016 Austin Business Journal (ABJ)
I find the managing people aspect of being a manager really hard and emotionally taxing. One problem is that I have no one to talk to about my managerial issues. This is different than my weekly meeting with my manager – we’re mostly project oriented. He’s always available for any question, but I don’t feel close enough to him for more personal venting sessions. Obviously it’s not appropriate to talk to any coworkers (whether peer or above) about my employees. I can’t talk to friends and family because I can only expect them to listen to so much – plus, since most of them aren’t managers, I feel bad taking the other perspective when they’ve often vented about managers. I feel like workplaces should have therapists (who are skilled at management) available to employees. This is exactly what I need. Is there any chance it’s a thing? All of these new questions and thoughts never were a part of my life until I stepped into the managerial role. Tell me if I’m alone, or do other managers face such issues?
ABJ Answer: You are so not alone; managing can be really emotionally taxing and sometimes lonely. It’s hard to have other people’s professional lives riding on decisions you make, and it’s hard not to be able to talk to most people about the toughest/most challenging parts of your work... ___________________________________ Success Coach Response: The answer provided goes on to encourage the writer to join the consulting group for live call-in opportunities to ask questions. There are other alternatives that should have been part of the answer.
I’ve been in those shoes. As a young manager in my first supervisory role, I didn’t have others within the organization to commiserate with, and my family couldn’t relate. What helped was belonging to an organization whose members were working women facing the same issues. I could ask specific leadership or management questions, or simply vent without feeling disloyal or crossing a line. Sometimes I just needed someone to confirm that I wasn’t losing my mind or expecting too much from my employees.
My company didn’t offer formal education for managers at my position level. Like so many others, I was promoted because I did a good job and showed some leadership potential. But continuing to develop those leadership qualities was left up to me. I had a ready-made leadership development program within the Texas Business Women’s group, and I took advantage of every opportunity offered. I volunteered for committees, served in leadership roles, participated in the public speaking contests, and found mentors within that organization. Many have become life-long friends, but all have helped me develop into the woman/ business owner/leader I am today.
Today, we all have so many demands on our time and actively participating in groups outside of work seems much more difficult. However, today we have the advantage of the internet. You no longer need to be in the same zip code, state, or even the same country to network and connect with others experiencing the same issues.
I urge you to find a group who can help you develop your leadership skills even further. If you’ve been promoted to a management position, someone saw potential in you. But it’s your job to continue to hone those skills. Your future, your career path is up to you. Find a mentor outside of your company who can be impartial to your concerns. Join virtual groups like Success Kit 4 Managers and share your questions, wisdom and experience with others.
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