When I first started supervising people I was very insecure. I had no idea what I was doing. Every problem was a nail and I was a hammer. People got tense when I walked up. They were just waiting for me to get upset about something and blow up.
My leadership did not inspire people. Instead, I put people on edge. A lot of people thought I was arrogant, the truth was I was scared. Every day I thought I was going to lose my job.
After a while, I began to realize that I was creating too much stress for myself and my team. My technique was not effective and I discovered I needed to change the way I was interacting with my team.
Getting angry and going off the handle on every problem did not instill confidence in others regarding my decision-making ability. I didn’t have a high level of emotional intelligence.
Another problem I had was feeling the need to always be in control. When some issue would arise I wanted to address it immediately in order to gain control over it. Waiting wasn’t an option. I had to attack the issue and that’s what I did – attack.
When I started to have anxiety attacks and dread going into work I began to realize that I needed to change. I didn’t like how I felt or the way I was reacting. My employees were unhappy and they were beginning to complain. I was young and inexperienced and didn’t know where to turn.
I wish I would have had somebody to turn to who could have helped me see where I was going wrong and what I should do to be more effective.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have that kind of help. My manager and fellow supervisors tried to offer help and they always supported me, but they couldn’t offer an overall strategy for effectively managing people.
Where it started to change for me was a training session I took on leadership, team-building, and coaching. It has been so long I don’t remember the company putting it on, but it was an eye-opening training. The person training the course gave great examples of how to lead teams and give coaching to employees in a positive and open manner.
Finally, somebody was offering me effective and actionable advice in a clear strategy. I began to use the skills I learned in this training session and felt myself relax and gain confidence as a supervisor.
So what did I learn? Here are the tips that made a difference for me:
- Always treat everyone with respect. It doesn’t do any good to get angry and yell. The only thing this does is to put people on the defensive. Always speak from a position of concern for the person you are coaching. Make it about helping them improve.
- Always stick with facts – avoid emotions. No one can argue with facts. A thing either is or isn’t. You can disagree about the particulars but if you have done your homework and kept good records, then the facts will always be on your side.
- Keep good records. This is essential. The better the records you keep the easier it is to address employee issues. It also covers your butt in case of a termination. The more facts you have the easier it is dealing with problematic employees.
- Let go of the need to control. At the end of the day, all you can do is deal with the here and now. You can’t control what has happened, or what will happen, but only how you respond to the circumstances. It is better to approach circumstances in a cool and calm manner because then you can think clearly and come up with better solutions to deal with the problem.
- Give yourself time to think through your response to a problem. Never go at a problem hot. Allow yourself some time to consider all the facts before responding. Let the emotions calm down and sit down and consider all the possibilities and then formulate your plan. Once you are calm, have all available facts, and a plan then you can move forward with dealing with the issue.
It is difficult dealing with employee issues when you first get started. Emotional responses are easy, ut don’t lead to good outcomes. Time is the only way to gain experience and ultimately confidence in yourself. Having good coaches and mentors can definitely help you on the way.
If you would like a free 45 minute coaching session to help you on your way email me at email@example.com, or email me questions anytime. I would love to talk to you. For more on my experience see my LinkedIn profile.