Hi Chris,

I have been in my first job for a while now. Initially, I was a worker bee, and I enjoyed every minute of it. And so I was pleased when I was promoted and put in charge of a small team.

But everything seems to be falling apart! Somehow, I am not getting along well with my new team, and the same is true of my colleagues and my boss. What is going wrong, after what seemed like a good start?

Failing Junior Manager

Chris says,

Hi Failing Junior Manager!

You would be surprised how often someone who is good at what they do struggles when they are promoted into their first management position. It is because being good at a job involves dealing with facts, events and issues.

While being a good manager is all about dealing with people, and that requires a new skill set; what is often called emotional intelligence.

You are being emotionally intelligent when you give someone you are talking to your undivided attention. When you accept people for who they are. When you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

When you are conscious of your feelings, understand what triggers them, and are able to control them when you need to.

You are being emotionally intelligent when you make good eye contact. When you are aware of the way men and women follow different conversational rules and have different argument styles.

And are sensitive to non-verbal signals, such as gestures, interpersonal distance and posture. It means being aware of other people’s moods, and not assuming you know what they are thinking.

It means listening to other people’s opinions but making up your own mind up. Listening to your intuition and letting it help you when making tough decisions. Confronting issues as they arise instead of letting them fester.

Emotional intelligence also means being able to say NO if you need to. Understanding and being sensitive to other people’s feelings, but also knowing what is best for you and your organisation, and setting your own priorities. Also, being able to say all that, so that people know where you stand.

You need to learn how to read social situations well. Not only listening to what everyone is saying, but also using their behaviour to figure out what is going on and what is likely to happen next.

You also need to recognise your negative thoughts. Like always thinking, “This always goes wrong, no-one likes me…” Or focusing on the worst possible outcome, or blaming other people for your problems.

Learn to stay calm and collected while under pressure, and manage anger and frustration. Practice emotional intelligence skills like these at every chance you get, and you will feel more self-assured and in control. You will eventually become a great manager!

All the best,