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Posts made in October 2018

What No One Tells You About Being a Manager

Many professionals aspire to attain management level roles. In order to perform at a high level, it requires commitment, dedication, and the skill to build a cohesive team. No matter how you prepare to assume this position, there are inevitably some surprises that await you. Simply put, you don’t really know what it’s like to manage other employees until you do it.

Being an effective manager requires great effort, to not only achieve the goals of the organization, but also to build the relationships necessary to oversee a high functioning team. With that said, there are a few things to keep in mind when meeting the challenges of the position.

You’ll Be in the Spotlight

Your actions, and the way you conduct yourself in the workplace is always noticed by the other employees. You’ll be their example—so make sure you are modeling the behavior you expect from your team.

To that end, candor and communication are key. For example, if you need to leave work early or take a day off, you should explain to your team the reasons why you need to do so. So to, when one of your team members needs time off, they should feel comfortable approaching you and being forthright about their personal circumstances. If you leave this unexplained, the other employees may think you’re just leaving early for no reason, and they may believe that you lack the commitment the position holds.

It’s Easy to Misappropriate Your Time

When you are supervising employees with different skill levels, it is easy to misappropriate your time and not allocate your resources effectively. Just because an employee is productive and a high performer, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need guidance and feedback from a supervisor. Be mindful of spending too many resources on employees not meeting expectations, and who may not be right for the position.

It is common for managers to spend too much time with underperforming employees, at the expense of the other team members. One thing you should do early on is assess why these employees are falling behind. If it’s a lack of training, that’s something you can address proactively. If it’s that the team member is in the wrong role, that may also be an adjustment you can make. And if it’s a matter of cultural fit, you can decide whether coaching or termination is appropriate.

The bottom line is, managers need to appropriate their time effectively.

You’ll Be the Go-Between

Most of the time, the manager ends up becoming a liaison of sorts between employees and the corporate leadership team. It is of utmost importance that the manager fully understands the concerns of the employees, so they can be properly communicated and addressed.

There are potential challenges of being a liaison, as managers can often misconstrue the concerns of their team, and can in some cases, create conflict and confusion. It can also be a challenge to translate the company’s vision and goals, if they are not clear.

At the same time, your team will look to you for direction and answers regarding company policies and procedures, so it is helpful to be well versed, or know who to turn to in order to find the answers to questions asked.

As you prepare to become manager, make sure you are comfortable being a go-between.

Learn More About the Manager’s Role

As you seek to become a team leader, an executive coach can help you clarify expectations and develop the appropriate skills. We invite you to learn more about this process. Reach out to Loeb Leadership Development Group today!

An Executive’s Approach to Building an Effective Leadership Team

One of the hallmarks of a great leader is to identify the leadership potential in those around them, nurturing their people management skills and positioning them for continued success and development.  To effectively grow a firm or business, leadership is one of the most important driving forces, as it can inspire and motivate a workforce, and conversely, poor leadership can demoralize employees and encourage them to seek other opportunities.

Whether you’re hiring from the inside or casting a wider net, it is important to show care in your recruitment efforts. In this post, we have highlighted five skills you should be looking for as you build out your leadership team.

The Characteristics of Effective Leaders

Trust. The first trait you should look for in potential leaders is their ability to establish trust. Leaders do this by modeling the behavior they expect of others and holding themselves accountable to nurture a high trust culture.  Successful leaders establish trust by individually engaging members of their team, to build relationships both personally and professionally.

Vision. Seek out a candidate who can communicate the vision of your company—condensing it into a clear and succinct message, and getting other people excited about it. In order to achieve an effective message, communication needs to be authentic and sincere. It should also include input from the shareholders and stakeholders of the organization to solidify buy-in.

Commitment. There is a saying — Commitment is the glue that bonds you to your goals. Leaders who are driven by achieving goals tend to play a role in motivating and inspiring those around them.  Look for leaders who view their role as being part of something greater than themselves and demonstrate follow through.

Organization. Any department leader or division chair you hire is going to provide employees with a roadmap, showing both short-term and long-term goals and clarifying key processes. That’s going to require a high level of organization. Look for leaders who can take complex concepts, ideas, and methodologies and break them down into digestible and easily understood processes or actions.

Communication. This is arguably the most important skill a leader can have, so make sure you emphasize this for any leadership position. A good leader excels in both written and verbal communication and can deliver a message with key takeaways and no confusion. Additionally, leaders in a high trust culture encourage the sharing of constructive feedback – so it is important to identify a leader that has the capacity to foster that environment.

These are some of the touchstones to keep in mind as you look for employees with the potential to lead—and remember: Those who show potential may still need development. To learn more about nurturing new and effective leadership in your company, contact Loeb Leadership Development Group today.

How to be Mindful When Engaging a Potential Mentor

Mentorship can be a rewarding experience for mentor and mentee alike. In today’s corporate environment, the mentoring process offers an exchange of knowledge and experience for both participants and has proven to be beneficial for career advancement. However, the process is also a real commitment, that requires time, patience, and dedication.

As with any task or goal that is worthwhile, obtaining a mentor requires commitment and a growth mindset. It is important to be self-aware and be open to an honest and introspective dialogue. The benefits can be limitless. The first person you ask may not be available to mentor you, but if you continue to search for a mentor that aligns with your goals, you will eventually find one that says yes.

Maybe the mentor you seek is a more senior attorney who works at your law firm, or a seasoned professional who you met at a networking event or industry conference. Before you approach this individual and ask them to take you under their wing, make sure you have a good sense of how to ask—laying bare your expectations, and acknowledging the commitment you’re asking this individual to make on your behalf.

It Starts with Gratitude

Once you make some preliminary connection with your potential mentor, send an email asking them if they are willing to meet with you. Be clear about your intentions entering into this relationship.

It’s important that this initial message be grounded in a grateful attitude. You’re asking them for an investment of their time, and you shouldn’t act entitled to it. Instead, make it clear that you’re thankful for whatever time they can offer you.

On a related note: Be respectful and aware that your mentor has a lot of demands on their time already, whether professionally or personally. Avoid hasty follow-up emails if they don’t respond right away.

Also, when you email them, it’s okay to mention some of the reasons you think they’d be a good mentor, and to note your admiration of them—but don’t cross the line into “buttering them up.” Try to avoid listing all the bullet points from their resume in an effort to flatter.

In the Initial Meeting

When you meet with your mentor for the first time, you should focus on establishing a personal rapport and get to know each other’s backgrounds. Finding common interests can be beneficial to the mentor/mentee relationship. Next, create a foundation for communication that helps facilitate a free flow of thoughts and ideas, and establish a basis for trust and confidentiality.

Here are some additional tips for continued communication with your mentor:

  • Be clear about what it is you’re looking for; guidance, coaching or to shadow them at their job.
  • Ask your mentor how he or she would like to communicate; by phone, email, Skype, or in person?
  • Commit to a regular schedule of meetings. Again, be mindful of your mentor’s time, but do try to set up a consistent meeting time—once a week, once a month, or whatever other rhythm you can agree on.
  • Be willing to put in some work. Ask your mentor if they have any “homework” you should do between now and your next meeting—and whatever it is, take it seriously!
  • Finally, remember that a potential mentor may simply not have the hours in the day to take you on right now, and this probably isn’t anything personal. Be gracious if they respectfully decline your request.

Identifying an individual who exemplifies a similar vision of success, and who you feel offers the experience and wisdom that you want to align yourself with, is worth the risk of asking. Use these tips to initiate a mentor/mentee relationship that will begin your journey.

To learn more about the value of workplace coaching and mentorship, contact the Loeb Leadership Development Group team today.