Eric P. Bloom: Being the chief cheerleader for your department
As the department manager, you should be the No. 1 advocate for your group. It's your responsibility to make sure that your department gets:
- The resources it needs to function properly
- The appropriate respect from other parts of the company
- Recognition for deserving people in your department for a job well done
Regarding promoting yourself, if your team is perceived as efficient, organized, important to the company, as the department manager, it will benefit you personally.
Now here comes the cheerleader part. One way the company will know how well your department is doing is by you telling anyone that will listen. I don't mean being obnoxious about it, just say it in small, appropriate doses. For example, when asked casual questions by senior people in the company, like, "How is it going?” don't say, "Great, how about you?" Instead say, "Things are going really well, for the fifth month in a row my department is 20 percent above our quota." Have four or five of these informational nuggets at the ready. These quick informational exchanges can give your department a big boost at unexpected times. For example, the senior executive that you told about your quota in the last example may need a regional manger somewhere, or at the next corporate meeting, that executive may use your department as the example of teams that exceeded their quota.
You should also be the chief cheerleader for the individuals in your group. This builds loyalty within your team toward you, and it gives the individuals in your group the recognition they deserve. For example, when your boss asks, "How is it going?” you can say, "Great, in fact Joe just negotiated a great service agreement with one of our vendors." This type of answer to your boss, or other executive, tells him/her three things:
- First, and the most obvious, is that Joe is going a great job
- Second, is that you are the kind of manager that is willing to give deserved credit to the individual members of your team
- Third, good things are happening within your department and you are smart enough to recognize it
As chief cheerleader, you should also be showing interest, excitement and enthusiasm in your department’s role within the company, the work your group is doing and how your group is performing. This enthusiasm will raise the energy level of the people around you, including your team, your peers, and, to a certain extent, your boss.
There is one last place that you should be chief cheerleader, that's for yourself. It is good to be selfless and pass credit on to your group members; it is also very advantageous to be your own chief cheerleader in a humble kind of way. You don't want to say how great you are, because people will just roll their eyes at you. Instead, learn to talk about your successes and accomplishments in a factual and matter of fact way. You can get your point across without appearing to be boasting.
The primary advice and takeaway for today’s column is to know that:
- As department manager, it’s your job to be the primary advocate for your department in regard to recognition, company respect, needed resources
- As department manager, it’s your job to assure that people within your group get appropriate company recognition for their work
Self-promotion is achieved by the combination of promoting your department’s and staff’s achievements and speaking factually (non-boasting) about your personal accomplishments.
For additional information on today’s topic, please refer to my book “Manager Mechanics: Tips and Advice for First-Time Managers,” by Eric P. Bloom.
Until next time, manage well, manage smart, and continue to grow.
Eric P. Bloom is president and founder of Manager Mechanics LLC, a training company, and author of the award winning book “Manager Mechanics: Tips and Advice for First-Time Managers.” Contact him at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or visit www.ManagerMechanics.com.