Q&A: “I was promoted to manager. How should I build relationships and solve problems with the team, considering we just recently were on the same level?”
“Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.” (Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie)
My usual approach to this is that “manager” is first and foremost a role. This role, like other roles, incorporates responsibilities and certain attributes. It also has its pros and cons. Not everyone wants to be a manager. Not everyone can or should be a manager. The level in the hierarchy, unlike the role, is practically not as important in communication and problem solving. It just provides you with some tools, which is a different topic. However, when you are promoted to a manager role, you will need to adjust your communication and approach, but not quite in the way you might think.
It took me years to accept the introverted nature of myself. And my partner, as a true introvert, played a lot in this process. Therefore, being true introverts, we often see confusion on the faces of our friends when they hear about our “exciting holiday” during which the two of us played A Way Out on Sony PlayStation.
A common time for such confusion is, for example, my birthday or vacation. ‘Cause it’s just the time of “Where are you going?” and “How many people?” questions.
In the past, when I heard these questions, they shaped my idea of what my birthday should look like. I tried to live up to expectations. It was fun and exhausting at the same time. After such a birthday or vacation, I always needed more rest. So I eventually began to distinguish between these activities – those that energize me and those that consume my energy – and balance them in my schedule.
Today I came across an article on how to become a better listener. The author says that in any conversation, in addition to being able to hear what the opponent is saying, we also need to convey interest and involvement. The article covers some tips on how to convey that interest, including repeating what the person said, nodding, etc. And while all of these things can be in the conversation, just trying to do it on purpose feels fake to me.
But nodding really works, you might say. Yes, if it’s real or looks real, otherwise it might convey something else, like an attempt at manipulation or that you’re pretending to be an active listener but thinking of something else. It doesn’t help the conversation.
I have a better idea, which is also much simpler, because you don’t have to remember all the “tactics” of an active listener, but instead just be. It works for me most of the time.
* Written in April 2022, during the russian invasion of Ukraine.
What if you ‘switch off’ the long-term planning?
For me it was down for about a month because of the need to make decisions right now without any chance to know what comes next. In fact even short term planning was limited, because the other day you would not even say about one hour of perspective.
What is a toxic team? Toxic people? No, Not really.
Better way to define it as toxic relationships between people in a team. And it’s important, because if we say that people are toxic it is impossible to change, but if we say behavior is toxic, this is a whole different story.
And the good news is that it is totally under a team manager’s area of influence. So if you are managing a team, and it now behaves in a “toxic” way, it is not hard to fix. I’ll tell you four simple steps to take so you can improve it right away.
The 360 degree feedback method was introduced somewhere in the 1950s and is still chart-topping more than 7 decades after. While it does provide a value, there are things to consider before using it.
The main point is bias and reasoning behind someone’s opinion. Even though this method is considered by many as non biased as there are many participants who provide feedback.
But look at this from a team’s perspective, not a theoretical one. You have certain people and everyone with certain reasoning. So when you ask for a feedback in a form of 360 degree you can do the following: