We all have bad days. We all have stressful meetings at work. We all have personal matters from home that creep into the workplace. It’s ok! It’s all part of being human.
But when you’re a manager, or in a leadership role, it can be challenging to keep things under control. You want to appear cool and collected with your team even if it’s not your best day. You want to be uplifting and positive even if you’re feeling frustrated.
The good news is, this is not an impossible task! Like anything else, like any other skill, it takes a little work, a little practice and a little time to master, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Here’s how to be a leader while also acknowledging and managing your feelings.
- Recognize that this is work. It might not be filing a report, compiling data, making sales or anything else that falls under your job description, but being an emotional support for your team, and supporting yourself at the same time, is work! This is a different kind of mental labor that requires setting aside the to-do list in order to care for people. It requires a shift of focus and an emphasis on compassion and patience. Those are not everyone’s strong suites and, if you’re one of those people, it can be really hard to learn. But it’s worthwhile, as people who have leaders they believe care for them, and about them, are more likely to be engaged and content in their jobs, rather than looking for a way out if they feel unsupported.
- Show yourself a little compassion too. Being a manager means you’re leading your team. You’re bombarded with questions and tasks all the time. You might have deadlines and big projects your team isn’t involved in and aren’t aware of. If you can’t spare the time right then and there to address someone’s problems or concerns, be polite but firm and suggest they put time on your calendar for later that day or the next one. You deserve the same boundaries and respect your team wants from you. If you’re new to managing a team, and you’re having a rough time of it, remind yourself that this is a new experience and responsibility, one which will take a little time to adjust to.
- Ask for guidance. A great leader is one who shows their team there’s no shame in asking for help. If you’re unfamiliar with how to emotionally and mentally support your team, ask a mentor at work for their suggestions and advice. Maybe there’s leadership training available through your company; maybe someone else you work with went through a great workshop and can make a recommendation. Patience, compassion, empathy and emotional IQ are all skills that can be learned and nurtured.
- Remember what matters. There might come a time where the instructions you’ve been asked to share aren’t the way you’d handle a project. You might disagree with the company’s higher-ups about the way they’re proceeding with a merger, or a reorganization, or some other big change. You might feel frustrated or angry but you still have to put on a supportive, happy face to share the new information with your team. Take a moment, if your emotions are on the rise, to collect yourself. If you need to take a short break and take a walk, do so. Then go to your team and walk through the changes with them. They might respond in the same way you wanted to; it’s up to you to keep people focused and on board with what comes next. This is not the time to grumble or complain; it’s the time to be a leader and model the behavior and approach you want your team to take.
Being a leader is a big job! It can be really tough at times. At the end of the day, you’re a person with feelings that are just as valid as your teams’ and they deserve to be felt and respected. Your approach might need to change a little as you’re entrusted to help guide your team through things, but with a little practice, and a little grace to yourself, you can do it!
If you’re looking for more advice, or if you need to add to your team because there’s a big expansion coming up, Davis Staffing can help! Contact our recruiters and tell them about your company and we can help find just the right candidates for your jobs. Call Davis Staffing today and let’s get started!