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.
1. Asserting your authority
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.”
2. Jealousy and resentment
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.”
3. Lack of confidence
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.”
Look to your vendors.
What to do when everything has been “dumped in your lap”? Baker recommends vendors as a great network to turn to. They can:
- Connect you with help with other industry professionals who can provide insights and advice
- Supply information of setting up procedures, equipment, and service lines
- Help you understand specifics of supply chain, data, and budget
4. Fear of letting go
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.”
Conclusion: You were chosen for a reason
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.
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