The first day I was on the job, I got 15 minutes of instruction on 3 important items, and was loosed on the tasks at hand.
I failed miserably that day at anything I put my hand to do.
Because though I was excited about the new job, and had plenty of transferable skills for the task, what I needed was an opportunity to be walked through the various tasks that particular employer needed me to do that day (and every day afterward).
I needed a type of supervision for those tasks that kept me motivated (supportive type of leadership has keeping the employee engaged and producing as the major goal), and addressed my unfamiliarity with specific steps in the tasks.
When we learn how to get that type of leadership, we almost always will improve our own skill sets, but have helped whatever organization we are working for.
Here’s what we have to do in order to get supportive leadership.
1. Recognize that early enthusiasm can quickly give way to disillusionment. If you don’t understand that when you don’t have all the skills needed to do a task you will also quickly become apathetic about doing the task, then no amount of good leadership will help. When you don’t understand how to do something, you’ll have to make it clear that you don’t fully know what needs knowing.
2. Report back. Many times when we don’t have either the skills we need or the enthusiasm to stay the course we forget how important it is to report to your supervisor the state of your situation. Good managers don’t want their people to fail because it ultimately means they are going to fail. If your supervisor doesn’t come asking you about how you are doing on the newly assigned task, find her and let her know. Ask for help. Accept correction. Refocus and tackle the task again.
3. Arrange a time to meet. Getting face time with your supervisor can be difficult sometimes. But supportive leadership is not gotten via email. Work out a time with your boss that helps you and him to address the need. The purpose, of course, is to share what you have experienced so far with the new tasks you have been given. Again, if you get in front of this reporting (instead of staying invisible until the boss comes to find you), you won’t usually reach a satisfactory outcome.The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People
4. Set realistic goals. Getting a little accomplished each day on your new task is far better, than doing nothing and floundering. Sometimes our expectations of ourselves are far greater than our experience would warrant. Be realistic, but keep track. Don’t flounder. You aren’t a fish.
5. Watch your self talk. It is very easy when you are not quite sure of how to do something to begin believing you’ll never accomplish the task. What you hear in your heart may well impact whether you do or do not accomplish the task. As a friend used to say: “Don’t project future wreckage”.What to Say When you Talk To Yourself
This isn’t an exhaustive list. There are other things that we can do to find the supportive type of leadership we need when we first tackle new tasks. What can you add?