Reflection, introspection

I’ve now jumped up into my first gig as a manager, and honestly, I’m making a lot of mistakes.

I realised today that one of these has been reactivity. In the past week I’ve been excessively reactive when under time constraints and passed that down the chain, expecting my people to come up with answers instantly. For example, today, something that landed casually in my already overflowing inbox on Friday last week was suddenly deemed ‘urgent’ by the sender. This has happened a few times now – that other people will get pressure put on them from above, and instantly pass that stress down the chain. There is also often no indication of what their expected timeframe of response is in their initial communication, or what action is desired from me.
In an effort to avoid sending my people an excessive, constant stream of emails each day, I tend to put them on a list to get to when I have more time (or investment in the subject matter). This may not be an ideal solution on my part, but it avoids me passing stress down to my reports.
However, today, I had to pass this stress down the chain due to the persistent Teams messages from the sender to get things done by his suddenly created deadline.

I’ve observed many managers in my short career, and I noticed and greatly respected the managers/supervisors who were able to catch the stress from their superiors, and calmly get done what needed to get done without the team feeling the stress. This is something I’ve always aspired to emulate, and thought I did pretty well in previous jobs – being the calm in a stress storm.

My current job is a new challenge in all aspects. It’s in a new industry, in a new state, with a much wider area covered than teams I’ve previously been in. I also have 6 direct reports, who have reports, whose reports have reports. This is unchartered territory for me.
In amongst all this ‘new’ I find it helps to find what’s familiar, and make sure I don’t forget. I have lots of experience with different sorts of managers (the very very good to the very very bad) having been a contractor across WAs minesites. I have a solid grasp of what good looks like in workshops. I have high standards for safety – both physical and emotional, of those around me in the workplace. There’s still machines – even if they look a little different (300 tonne vs 8 tonne). There’s still good people that get things done. The list goes on.

So it’s important to take time to reflect. On what you bring to the table. What your actions have been so far. How you can handle situations differently.

Tomorrow, I will come back stronger and better for it. Better for myself. Better for my people.

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