PSA for junior managers: It's your time to shine!
With adversity comes opportunity. For seasoned managers, the coronavirus is "only" another bump in the road. (All be it a serious one obviously.) For younger managers, it may be their first encounter with a major obstacle at work. So aside from all the challenges it presents, it also comes with an opportunity for them to shine through!
Here are some tips for “younger” managers and how they can stand out during the coronavirus.
1. Don’t make excuses, create solutions. Obvious right? The last thing your manager needs now are additional headaches. It doesn’t mean you don't consult with him or her about your issues but present a problem and then present your solution. When this craziness ends, they’ll remember who was a PITA (Pain In The A…) to manage and who wasn’t.
2. Have an emergency action plan in place and ready in hand. There is nothing more satisfying than when the department manager asks everyone to put together an emergency action plan than you going into your virtual desk drawer, pulling it out and saying “Here it is..!”
3. Take pride in your team’s activities. Did you have a virtual team lunch? Post it on the company’s FB page. Are you running a monthly meeting that your direct manager doesn’t usually join? Invite them to join, observe, and offer encouragement to your team.
4. Maintain a professional appearance. It’s ok to take a conference call at night in your pajamas but take notice of how senior leadership will always dress for video calls as if they were in the office. It sounds superficial (and may be just that) but it doesn’t make it wrong.
5. Increase all your positive attributes ten-fold! After a few weeks of being isolated from the world, tension may be running high at work and or at home. So, at every online meeting, try and be the calmest, most patient, the most attentive and best listener. When all this craziness ends and a senior position opens up, everyone will remember how calm you were under pressure.
6. Don’t oversell. Senior leadership will always respect managers who deliver high-quality results on time over those who simply pay lip service. Be accountable for your work and never bite off more than you can chew. Nobody will remember if you asked for 2 additional days on a project which ordinarily could have been done in less, but they will remember if you don’t deliver on time.
7. Understand how your team is doing personally. Firstly, as a manager, it's the right thing to do. You always want to be on top of everyone's welfare. Additionally, at some point, your manager or someone from HR should inquire as to everyone's welfare, and when they do it's important to show them how you are on top of it, just as a seasoned manager would be.
During times of uncertainty, people will be thirsting for examples of leadership. As a young manager, it can be your time to step up and shine!