As a junior professional starting out in your career, you are often told what makes great management, but rarely asked. Just as those in the senior echelons know what to look for in a junior colleague; we also learn pretty quickly what we need from a manager.
Be our fortune teller
It may sound odd, but at the start of one’s career, sometimes it isn’t immediately obvious to us what our strengths and weaknesses are. With time and experience (and probably a few mishaps in between) these become clear and allow us to realize what we enjoy doing and what we are good at, which in turn helps us decide our career goals. Some pointers along the way can be helpful and sometimes those on the outside are able to spot our strengths before we can ourselves.
If you can identify opportunities that you think would suit our skills and interests then we can run with them, prove our potential and produce great work.
Be our advocate
Once our interests and strengths are clear, we just need a little help ensuring our work is noticed. As a member of senior management, sitting in your seat at those weekly leadership meetings, you are in the ideal position to act as our advocate. Whether it’s letting team members know about a piece of work we completed or sharing our interests at a relevant point, this will help others understand who we are, what we enjoy and what we excel at.
This in turn will open up opportunities to us and give us confidence in our work and ability.
Be our critic
In order to develop and progress in the right direction, feedback is integral to ensure we learn from what we have done before and move forward in a positive way. A few key things that are important when giving feedback include:
- All feedback is important, what to do and what NOT to do – as long as it’s honest, everyone will benefit
- Please don’t return a piece of work and just tell us what you didn’t like about it – especially without giving us an inkling of what you do want to see next time. This is guaranteed to leave us feeling lost and dispirited!
- When appropriate, take the time to provide face-to-face feedback. As an informal chat, this will help develop your relationship and allow for discussion on why we shouldn’t use that language, where that content should be included or how that document needs to be formatted.
As a senior colleague we look to you to use your past experience to provide guidance and feedback regularly. Take the time to check in. These days, no one can remember how we survived without emails, but somehow we did.
We don’t know what we don’t know. If you can read between the lines and provide context that we may not already have, which will help us better understand an issue or a piece of work, this will help give us the bigger picture.
Most importantly, take a step back every now and then, think back and remember what it was like when you were in our shoes – having this perspective will ensure you maintain a good relationship with respect and understanding, in both directions.