One of the most interesting experiences I have had recently has been working for my long-time employer. I have worked at this company for almost ten years and have been promoted beginner to office manager and considered one the foremost experts in my company – so much so the owner often consults me on decisions regarding other offices. This all said, I no longer work as an office manager.
In August of 2011 I stepped back from my position as office manager to go back to school. I completely stopped working in February of 2012 to focus on my program. In December I graduated with a Master’s in Interactive Journalism. And then I had nothing to do. I have been eagerly looking for a job, a place where I can build my new professional and personal life out-of-state. In the mean time, I still had bills to pay. So, with gratitude to work, I began filling in at the various offices based on need. In recent weeks I have been working much more due to illness and personal emergencies among the employees.
It is tricky to take all my experience, knowledge and management skills and sort of place them on hold. With the understanding that I am not in charge, only working to fill a position, I have been doing my best to do my “job” and not interfere in a way that over steps my current bounds. But there comes a point where I see the employees in need of some leading and I can’t help but take charge and lead the way.
I realize that most coworkers don’t like this characteristic. Especially since they have worked in this environment for a while and don’t really know me or my experience. The question becomes, “how much do I do”? My ultimate goal is to promote the business and make is as successful and client-satisfied as possible.
What are my tips for leading without running my coworkers over?
- Lead by example – if I am going correct an issue I know to be contradictory to the expectation of the company, I must follow through myself and follow the rules. Everyone must play by the same rules and be held accountable equally.
- Treat your coworkers the way you would want to be treated – it’s as simple as that.
- Say please and thank you – nothing is worse than entitlement or rudeness. Included in this is your tone. If you say it with sarcasm it won’t mean anything.
- If you have nothing nice to say, keep it to yourself – if you talk about one coworker negatively, you will talk about everyone and they will talk about you. By saying only nice things you will gain a positive reputation and others will naturally follow you.
- Listen more than you talk – nobody likes a narcissist. If you talk too much, especially about yourself people will stop listening and talking to you and your reputation and ability to lead diminishes.
I hope this helps even if you have never been in a position of leadership. By acting like a good leader before you are promoted will gain you respect among your coworkers and when promoted give them a reason to follow you and your boss to promote you.