Play 9 - Be patient with yourself and allow feelings of discomfort
You have just stepped into something entirely new, and whether it’s still within familiar territory or a completely new environment, you are going to feel out of sorts, even if you have years of experience operating at a high level! Be patient with yourself, and allow for the fact that you might feel unmoored. If you feel overwhelmed at times or a lack of confidence, etc., these feelings are all normal and okay.
Allow yourself to work through these feelings as you continue working through the other plays, which are designed to help get you oriented and grounded. Over a period of time, the role will begin to feel more normal. When you start feeling that everything is priority number one and you must begin taking immediate action on it all, stop and slow down. Take the time to learn, research, observe, and listen first, especially before making any major moves.
It is also possible that there will be times when you hesitate to start a daring talk, often known as a courageous conversation. To conduct uncomfortable conversations with coworkers about issues like systemic racism, social justice, and privilege at work takes guts. Despite the potential for pain, you must approach these conversations with bold intentionality and sincerity if you want to foster a sense of belonging at work and value among your team.
Engaging in positive self-care activities, along with frequent check-ins with your supervisor and peers, will go a long way in building your confidence and helping you feel supported. Make sure you are eating and sleeping well (accounting for the fact that if you have one or more small children/babies, this is incredibly hard - I know, I have been through it!) and getting some semblance of exercise (nothing elaborate, even just some walks here and there). You may also consider carving out some time for meditation and/or positive thought reflection to give yourself some quiet moments. This activity can greatly help you in regaining focus and clarity, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Ask for help! If you are unsure about anything or just don’t feel something is right, speak with your supervisor about it. Do not let it fester or feel you have to solve something alone. This helps build strong relationships and demonstrates vulnerability with accountability (you’re taking control/ownership of the situation), which is a positive leadership attribute to exhibit and develop.
Lastly, start to think about what “success” looks like for you in a supervisory role and how you would like to achieve it. You can use the TTS Leadership Competencies as a guide. Find some ways to measure that success and then have a conversation with your supervisor to solidify ideas, adjusting accordingly if need be (especially for ways to tie it to your performance plan). Once you establish this notion of success for yourself, come up with ways to highlight your successes and make them visible, and track them somewhere (perhaps a document or spreadsheet just for yourself). This will provide you with a tangible way of tracking your progress and reinforcing your successes, and also makes it easy to share with your supervisor.
- Find a mentor and/or coach not in your supervisory chain who can help you think about who you are and want to show up in your work. GSA has a coaching program filled with excellent executive coaches.
- Connect with other supervisors going through a similar onboarding as yourself and form a group to support one another and share learnings. In TTS, you can request a topic-focused Supervisor Circle.
Play 9 Reflection Questions
- What are some healthy coping strategies you have implemented since you have transitioned into your Supervisory role?
- In what ways have you sought support from others (outside of the support options listed above)?
Play 9 Case Studies
- You are now in charge of leading the team you used to work on. Unfortunately, you are encountering a lot of pushback from colleagues who also applied for the job. How do you face gossip from others?
- You block out short periods on your work calendar weekly for times of meditation and mental reflection. You’d like to see if other supervisors also block out time on their calendars for these activities, but you are unsure of whether or not to ask. How do you proceed?