As a supervisor, it is understandable that you will not understand the day-to-day of every position you manage. This is okay and completely normal. You will have personally worked in some of these roles before landing your current job, but it is unlikely that you have hands-on experience in all of them.
You do not need to understand the daily life of every employee you manage but instead focus on working on the business to manage a team. The following tips will help you manage your employees even if you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs.
Be Honest and Learn
There is a common misconception that employees will not respect you if you do not know their job as well as they do. This is far from the truth. The best approach is to be open and honest. Respect the knowledge they have and learn from them. Most people are eager to show off their area of expertise.
You will be respected far more as a supervisor if you are humble and know how to seek out answers when you do not know them.
Collaborate with Colleagues
If you have someone in your network which holds a similar position as you with much more experience, reach out. Pick their brain about how to manage a team with unfamiliar roles. Colleagues might be able to offer helpful advice such as:
- What is the best way to measure productivity?
- What are reasonable goals to set?
- What metrics can you look at to improve job performance?
Obtain Employee Feedback
Your veteran team members are the ones who have seen it all. Ask for feedback on what is working well and what needs improvement. Your employees are working in the trenches, so they are the people who will know best how to improve the day-to-day workflow.
However, it is up to you to ensure that suggested solutions align with the company’s goals and budget.
Take Responsibility for Outcomes
Good or bad, the outcomes of your employees are yours as well. After all, it is your job to lead them to desired results. Many managers make the mistake of saying, “Well, I don’t know much about that position, so I had nothing to do with it.” Copping-out gives off the perception that you are a weak leader. Instead, acknowledge that you played a pivotal part in positive outcomes and take blame for negative ones.
There is no need to fear if you are faced with managing roles you do not know anything about. Take a deep breath, be confident, and lead with a humble yet authoritative attitude. You will learn what you need to know along the way.
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