by Allie Petty-Stone, firm administrator, Alerding
If you think about how many job titles there are in the world, your head could spin. Yet, out of all of them, many employees aspire to achieve the title of “manager.” That simple designation comes with a sense of accomplishment and purpose, and checks off a big milestone in your career. It indicates that your bosses recognize your qualifications and skills to lead people and/or processes for company endeavors.
So, you finally get that promotion to manager. How exciting! You’ve finally achieved that rung on the ladder — all of the hard work, dedication, and perseverance has finally paid off. However, it means so much more. Being a member of management not only means that you have a higher responsibility for the delivery of services and guidance of people within your organization, it also means you have the opportunity to make an impact beyond the work — mentoring other people.
Managing on its own is challenging as your new title means you’re taking on new tasks with your peers and subordinates looking on. The pressure can be great. How do you manage employees who were previously your peers? You are now a part of a group of decision-makers that can impact the organization and could ultimately be deemed responsible for the success or failure of your team. Responsibilities are greater as you are now guiding the ship, and your mates need to know how you will lead them. Will this new title change how you work and will this impact them? Will you evoke change? Will you be available?
It breaks down to a manager’s capacity to be more than just another authority figure. The position presents an opportunity to go beyond an authoritative presence by serving as a mentor. Great mentors are confident in their own abilities. They are not intimidated by the skills of others, are resourceful in meeting needs, offering employees opportunities to grow, and allowing room for error. It may be difficult and time-consuming at first, but the end goal should be a team that has evolved stronger as a result of your efforts. Being accountable and resolving issues together helps build critical thinkers which, down the road, also can result in more innovative and effective solutions. Overall, everyone learns in some capacity and a happy mentor finds fulfillment by witnessing those successes.
Making a long-lasting impact
I often reflect on those supervisors I had in my early career and how it impacted my work ethic and interactions with others. Although I had some dreadful managers, I was fortunate to have some impactful ones who also became my mentors. I called them my “mother hens” and still speak of them to this day. They were patient and taught me all they knew, passing on invaluable skillsets . Those interactions shaped me into a better employee and gave me a sense of passion for my work. I would not have the patience I have today if it weren’t for their kindness. I’m so grateful for them and, due to their generous nature, I have committed myself to seeking ways to pay it forward.
Keep in mind that people are always watching and listening. Your ethics and integrity are revealed in your interactions and how you manage can be memorable.
Here is an example of how leadership impacted my daughter, who was employed as a barista for a global coffee chain. She worked with a supervisor named Katie. She loved Katie for her spirit, tenacity and unwavering desire to do a great job. Katie led her shift teams with enthusiasm and was a high performer while expecting the same from her team. Here is the real clincher: When Katie was promoted to manager, she asked that she be placed in the worst performing store. You see, it is one thing to move to a successful store, thereby initially inheriting someone’s else’s accomplishments and endeavoring to continue it. However, taking on a known failure with a desire to transform it is quite another. That’s what sets managers and leaders apart. And people notice and carry that forward.
My daughter noticed and admired Katie for this pursuit. Katie left her mark. She made an impression. It transformed what my daughter thought about leadership, too. Now, I do not know if Katie had success in that new role, but I do know that she achieved a level of respect and admiration from my daughter and others upon hearing this story.
She impacted people she wasn’t even aware of. And THAT is the impact of great leadership qualities … you wind up impacting more than just those you know directly.