Some of you may have reached the ranks of management as a result of a grand plan you had for working your way up the corporate ladder. Then there are the rest of you, (like myself), who woke up one day and discovered that you were in charge. At the age of 24, I was tossed into management without a safety net. Just like most of you, I didn’t have a playbook with rules, nor did I have a nine-month management training program to prepare me for what was to be a sometimes scary, often bumpy ride. This experience changed me forever. I can personally relate to my clients, many who have been thrown onto the field, or in some cases under a bus, with little more than a 5% pay increase in their check. It’s lonely in management. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you create a support system to help you get through the rough patches. So how do you do that? There are a number of ways to build a support system. Here are three:
1. Find a mentor-A mentor is a wise and trusted advisor who you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts, ideas and concerns with. This person may or may not reside in your organization. Some organizations have formal mentoring programs where managers are paired up with more experienced leaders. Together you work towards established goals. For those of you who do not have access to a formal mentoring program, there is always the option of an informal mentor. I personally prefer informal mentors. These relationships evolve more organically. You meet someone who takes an interest in your well-being. Over time you develop trust, which leads to more open communication. Sometimes these relationships extend long past retirement.
2. Associations-Seek out a professional association where other like-minded people gather. There, you will have an opportunity to connect with people who are experiencing or have experienced similar challenges to the ones that you are dealing with. It’s helpful to be able to see things from another perspective.
3. Continue your education-Over the years, I’ve been able to build a great support system with people who I met in my MBA program. Most of us worked during the day and attended school at night. We had common goals and common challenges. While we may no longer be in school, we certainly continue to rely on one another as trusted advisors. In my next posting, I’ll talk about ways you can build your support system without leaving your office chair. Until then, enjoy the ride up!
Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Human Resource Solutions
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