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Subject:Re: FWD: Team Leading (long) From:Cathe Bedard <cbbedard -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com Date:Tue, 14 Mar 2000 09:37:25 -0800 (PST)
It sounds like you are off to a good start. Here are
some random thoughts from someone who has spent more
time in management than in writing due to a career
change. I love both jobs. Recently I've been quietly
mentoring someone who has just made a similar change.
These are the issues I've seen him address:
Know what your boss expects of you. Do you have a
percentage of time for writing tasks versus management
tasks? Someone has shown confidence in your abilities.
It often helps to ask questions, especially since this
is your first management gig.
Know what your boss expects of the people you
supervise. One of your goals should be to make your
boss look good via production of good documents (and
hopefully your people will do the same for you) and
you can't do that without knowing his/her
expectations. Are you in this position to create
change or to maintain status quo?
If you are lucky you work in an office with minimal
politics. But remember that you now represent more
than just yourself. Just like lurking on a list, it is
important to become aware (from your new vantage
point) of what other managers in your company do, how
they do it, and how they are perceived before you
change your own actions too much.
Develop relationships with your writers. Find out what
motivates them in addition to or instead of money. Try
to provide positive rewards that mean something to
them. You probably can't control money, but you may be
able to control lots of other things.
Make sure you know how to communicate with your
writers. It's amazing how much our histories influence
what we hear/read and how we interpret what we
hear/read. You can't assume that the same words will
mean the same things to all your people.
Learn how your writers think and work. If you know
their strengths you sometimes can give assignments
that use those strengths. If you know their weaknesses
you can figure out how to provide support without
becoming co-dependent. Monitor progress on assignments
without having a "checking up on you" attitude.
Address problems when they are small rather than
waiting until they are out of control.
Think about treating people fairly versus treating
people the same. They aren't necessarily the same
With luck the person who vied with you for the job is
a really competent team player whom you want on your
side. If so, have lunch with her and enlist her
support. If you know why you were chosen instead of
her, and if you can share the information, it may be
useful to both of you.
Resist the temptation to discuss the work of one of
your writers with any of the others. Confidentiality
is critical. A major change from writer to manager is
establishing a new peer group. And just like in any
other relationship, be careful what you say about your
staff. Things said in frustration can come back to
Document! Provide positive written and voiced feedback
as well as negative feedback. Address problems as soon
as you see them, but give genuine praise readily, too.
If you are in charge of performance reviews, provide
informal "coaching" all the time rather than
surprising your writers at review time.
--- anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com wrote:
> Hi all,
> I've just been promoted to the position of team lead
> for a small tech
> writing team (5 people).
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