CVForward > Cutting the Cord
This quick overview marks the first installment of our Scrubs to Suits series, designed to help cardiovascular (CV) professionals adapt and thrive in an ever-changing clinical and business landscape.
Cutting the cord. It implies separation from the familiar. Moving on to bigger and greater challenges. If you find yourself (expectedly or unexpectedly) as a new manager, there are some strong emotions you are probably experiencing.
The key to effectively navigating the emotional dimensions of management starts with self-awareness and the fact that you will now do things differently. Here’s a look at 4 common emotions you are likely contending with—and some advice on how to work through them from Mark Baker, Cardiac Cath Lab, EP, IR Manager at the Platte Valley Medical Center in Colorado.
Your former colleagues are now your staff. Moving forward, they will take suggestions, advice—and yes, even orders—from you. Baker warns against overreliance on the “boss card”: “The trick here is to be a servant leader. You aren’t ruling by edict; you’re here to find out what they need to get the job done. Always speak in terms of we and not I when you need something done. And never make it personal. If you do need to drop the hammer on someone, make that person understand that you are enforcing your institution’s policy, not just being a boss.”
Some staff may have wanted the promotion you just received. They may be surprised, even hurt. Baker suggests taking an indirect approach: “Don’t confront this head on. Try to ease the person’s mind with actions. Let them see you’re going to be a good and thoughtful manager. Show them, non-verbally, the reason why you were picked for the job.”
Problem: Baker recalls that after his first promotion to a management position, 2 members of his staff—former colleagues—did not take things well. “They would actually try to sabotage me by hiding equipment. The physicians would get angry. I would look bad. And then they would pop up with the required item to save the day. I actually had to stockpile the equipment in my office, and when I caught one of them trying to get at it, it was time for a talk.”
Solution: Baker’s first major management challenge taught him a lot about human nature. “I put him in his place, but I didn’t get personal. I didn’t hold a grudge, and I moved on. He and I were able to see eye to eye, but the other former colleague decided to leave. Sometimes a change in situation can make a former relationship toxic. They may not be able to accept the new order and at that point you just have to let them go.”
Baker sees the ability to look within oneself as one of the secrets to building a confident manager. Understand that management is an ongoing process. “Emotionally, you need to be able to self-reflect on a constant basis. Every interaction, you need to look at it. Ask: How did I handle it? Did I do it appropriately?” Continuous self-analysis will help you learn to do things with greater self-assurance.
Also look to the person whose job you are filling. “The person you replace should be there to support you,” Mark says. “They will want to see you succeed and will be there to help give you the confidence you need.”
Sometimes, promotions can come unexpectedly—the result of a termination, for example. A resource like a mentor may not be in place, and you may have to do your job with a serious lack of support.
What to do when everything has been “dumped in your lap”? Baker recommends vendors as a great network to turn to. They can:
According to Baker, this is the big one. You’re used to doing many things yourself, and now you have to expect others to do them while you focus on the bigger picture. Mark sees it as a matter of trust. “Remember that you cannot do everything yourself. You have to love your staff and then leave them be. Things will go wrong, of course, but the better you’ve picked and trained your staff, the more confident you’ll be. Just let them do their jobs.”
Conflict, change, and uncertainty—all of this and more can contribute to the emotional turbulence of being new to leadership. When self-doubt comes, Baker again suggests self-reflection as the cure. “Nobody new to management ever thinks they are ready. But remember that you are a manager for a reason. Somebody saw something in you that made you the best choice for the job. Think hard on what that is, but even if it takes time to identify, be confident that it’s there.”
And with that confidence, you’ll work through these common emotions and become the leader you were chosen to be.
Visit these websites for more helpful information from other industry thought leaders.
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