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First Time Managers Tips: Gaining a Management Perspective

Posted Mar 24 2009 3:57pm
With contributions by Marla Rosner

Are you a new manager? Maybe you’ve just been assigned to “team lead” or train a group of people.

As a new manager, there are numerous adjustments you'll need to make, some quicker than others. You were undoubtedly promoted because you’re able to perform your job tasks quite well. One of the first lessons you’ll need to learn is that you can’t do it all. You’ll need to learn how to get results through others rather than performing certain tasks yourself.

You’ll also need to understand that the viewpoint of management is a little different from your old viewpoint. Think for a moment of how a scene might look from the peak of a hilltop compared to that same landscape viewed from the forest floor. It's the perspective from the hilltop you need to obtain in order to lead your team through the forest.

You may already have a clear understanding of the bigger goals of your organization by virtue of having worked at the company prior to becoming a manager. You may be tempted to think that you don’t need to worry too much about the manager’s perspective, especially if you’re only leading a small group.

It’s important to realize, however, that your value to the company as a manager is in leadership. Even if you’re only guiding a small group, you now hold a meaningful role in helping your company achieve its goals.

Don't ever trivialize your team's contribution. Every group and every individual plays an essential role in the organization, especially when they're all aimed at the same corporate goals. Managers or supervisors who "get" the big picture will always stand out because they direct their teams in alignment with the needs of the business.

To understand the big picture, do your homework. Set aside time each week to gather information that helps you understand the company’s business needs. This is an area you probably haven’t thought much about in the past. Take the time now to learn how you fit in with the big picture. This step is vital to the success of your entire team.

Many businesses units operate in "silos"—that is, they're not connected to other parts of the company. You may have worked for your unit for quite some time but not be aware of its other products or customers. For example, if you’re a new manager in a senior living community that is owned by a large, multi-facility company, you may not even know that your company also operates home care agencies.

The company website can be an excellent source of information. If you haven't dug into the company's website before, do so now; you may discover some aspects of the company of which you weren’t aware.

Though this information may not be relevant to your daily responsibilities, having this information will help you to understand where your team and you fit into the larger picture. It may also suggest opportunities you'd like to pursue that you hadn't previously considered.

Read articles related to both your company and your industry. You'll learn a great deal about competitors and where your company fits in. You may get new ideas of how improve your work. Read local newspapers, too, to learn about what’s happening in your industry and community. It may help you understand how your company looks to the public and how you can improve its image.

Share your observations with your boss at an appropriate time. It will not only show your boss that you’re working hard to understand the company from the hilltop point of view, but will also give your boss a chance to validate or correct your observations.

Taking these steps will help you to become a better leader. The next step is to learn how to connect your team's activities to the company’s goals and objectives. That’s a topic for a future article. CEUs for senior care professionals · Staff training for caregivers · Caregiver job applications right to your inbox
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