If you are anything like me, you were introduced to management and higher responsibility in your workplace because you were a good employee, and the current management team felt like they could trust you to make decisions that were going to be good for the business. Maybe you had played team sports, maybe you were even the captain of the team, or had excelled in group work at school. Maybe you even had some sort of education that stated you were ready for management... But you still had no experience.
You started managing by doing what you thought you were supposed to do... you told people when they did something wrong, you gave "feedback," and you made decisions in a way that you thought you were supposed to and you acted as an authority. If you were like me, you probably got a bit of an ego at some point, and even went on a few power trips, frustrating customers and staff along the way.
There are so many scenarios that new and experienced managers go through that they have never had to deal with before. Curve balls that are thrown at them left and right, driven by emotion, stress, lack of knowledge, other people's decisions and many other things. We have all been in these situations, as the one that people are looking to for guidance, for decisions, for clarity and sometimes we may have no idea what to do.
P.s. this doesnt just apply to new managers... it happens all the time, to every manager, in every company.
I can tell you, that I made almost every mistake in the book. I made customers angry, I frustrated staff(if you are reading this, you know who you are!,) and I probably cost the business money at least once or twice. I always tried to learn from those mistakes, and treat them as part of my education. I tried to not make them again, and to share them with my peers so that when they went through the same situations they wouldn't make the same dumb decision that I made.
Im not sure when I realized that how I approached all of these unpredictable things being thrown my way would dictate how they turned out... or at least how my approach could minimize the damage caused... But I can tell you that there is one lesson I learned, that changed every situation, every conversation, and every decision about people for the rest of my career(and life.) Its as simple as trying to be at least one person's "hero" every day.
This isn't an ego thing, its not about trying to save someone's life, and its not about trying to impress people. Its about not missing opportunity. Its about looking for ways to improve. Its about jumping at the chance to approach situations in a positive way because people don't forget. Its about relationships, morale and integrity. Its about doing something unexpected for someone. About giving positive feedback, and saying thank you. As managers we are all guilty of forgetting to do these things because we get too busy, or for some reason we think our job is to just point out problems or give "constructive criticism".
Now, back to the comment earlier about making mistakes, frustrating staff etc... Even after I learned the importance of always trying to look out for my people, I still made lots of mistakes, but I can also tell you that I missed less opportunity. Missing less opportunity was a game changer for me. I changed every interaction and every relationship. I definitely still missed some, but I guarantee you I missed less. Difficult conversations became less painful and with a filter of trying to ensure people felt as good as possible about whatever it was we were discussing, I started to take more time to build context for people, I explained situations more in depth, and tried to always look at both sides. This changed the outcomes of so many situations for the better for me.
Now.... Why am I writing this? Because my personal belief is that people overcomplicate things and miss opportunity. If you are in management, or want to be, think about the hundreds of interactions that you have daily with people. Think about the person you "dont have time for." Think about following principle over policy sometimes. Think about what it would be like if you somehow found a way to make every interaction you have throughout the day a positive one. You will never achieve this 100%, but if you approach your interactions this way I guarantee you one thing. EVERYONE will have a generally positive feeling about working with you. Look at it as a filter for how you interact with people.
So, before you walk into the office today, or while you are preparing to jump on that zoom meeting or phone call, think about putting on your invisible cape and try not to miss the opportunities that present themselves to be somebody's hero.