Joined: February 15, 2005
From: Indianapolis, IN
Greetings and thanks for reading this post.
I often get calls from therapists after they have taken their first "leadership" position who are frustrated in their new position and wonder what they are doing wrong. The majority of them have excelled in the clinic, have had great relationships with their peers and now find themselves out of alignment with their supervisor. I encourage them to examine their current actions and how to acquire the new skill of "managing up".
We are obviously drawn to people we enjoy being around and people who meet our needs. At work, when you walk in the door, is your supervisor happy to see you? If the answer is no, or you are unsure of the answer, ask yourself if you are someone who delegates up. What I mean by this is are you someone who brings PROBLEMS back to your supervisor or do you bring SOLUTIONS. The solutions do not have to be in final form but show a well thought out attempt at correcting a situation. The solution(s) should show your supervisor that you are committed to your management position. Delegating up is the first bad habit to break and one that I see many new leaders initially doing.
As with any type of selling, you must take the time and energy to really understand your supervisor. You may need to sell your solutions and ideas but you must first have a clear grasp of what your supervisor wants from you. Don't guess at what this is! Sit down with them and find out specifically. Good questions to review with them might include the following:
How often do you want updates from me and in what type of format? Do you want me to help you analyze the data I am gathering? Do you want me to advise you in any areas? How should I let you know when I am ready to take on more responsiblity?
Get clear on what your personal brand is.
What can your supervisor (and those around you) expect from you on a consistent basis? Take some time out to determine what makes you unique in the workplace. What are your signature traits? What are your personality characteristics that make you a great leader (or a great leader in the making)? For example, my personal brand is highlighted by great listening skills, emotional intelligence and commitment. As Dale Dauten says, "What are you famous for?" Your personal brand will be a very important part of how you build trust and sell your ideas and plans to your supervisor.
How does your personal brand assist you in managing up? Thanks for sharing your experiences with others.