Management 101: Critical Skills for New Support Center Managers


Rock Your First 90 Days!

by Melissa Jackman
August 3, 2017

Congrats! You have been promoted!  All of your hard work and dedication to serving your customers has paid off!  You are a superstar! There’s only one problem: you are not sure that you are qualified or capable of doing the new job to which you have been promoted. Don’t worry, you are not alone!  Many new managers feel unsure about the new role that they will now play, but there are some things that you can do to ease your transition into your new role.

Believe in Yourself

Understand that there is a learning curve with any new position. Rome was not built in a day. You can do several things to help build up the confidence that is so needed to motivate your team to follow you into the new vision that you are driving forward:

  • Trust that this identity crisis is part of the process.  You may be unfriended on Facebook or not invited to go out to lunch with the group of your old peers. Just know that this is normal. People are not sure where they stand with you now that you are in a position of power. Put them at ease by being transparent and approachable. By showing genuine care for those you work with, you represent yourself as worthy of trust.
  • Develop a great working relationship with your boss. Talk with her about setting goals for your first 30-60-90 days in your new role. Also, evaluate your boss’s workstyle and how to best meet her needs. If possible, establish a weekly meeting to touch base on projects and goals.
  • Find a mentor. Find someone who can provide advice and coaching on challenges that you might be facing. This is a great way to avoid pitfalls by talking through your approach prior to making a decision in the beginning.
  • Join a local support group. Networking with those who share the same challenges that you do in your current position can help you to bring new and fresh ideas to your organization and make you look like a hero! 

Get to Know Your New Team

Taking time to personally connect with your employees is incredibly important to establish credibility and trust. Get to know what each of them is looking for in a manager, what motivates them, what their goals are, and about them as a person. Humans have an innate need to be cared about.

Melissa delivered Management 101: Critical Skills for New Managers at HDI 2017 Conference & Expo.

In the Harvard Business Review article Managing Oneself, Peter Drucker says, “The first secret of effectiveness is to understand the people you work with so that you can make use of their strengths.” By taking the time to get to know the people on your team, you will be better able to assign the right person for the right job. This increases employee engagement and satisfaction.

Understand that Your New Position Is Less Transactional

Different from when you worked in direct customer support, where you had incoming calls to deal with, your responsibilities as a manager are now less tangible. Some days you might not feel like you accomplished anything, but through your mediation, coaching, directing, and supporting, you will be able to see your accomplishments in the success and progress of others.

Planning Is Key 

Plan your first 90 days. Break it down into 30-day intervals, and set goals for each period. For example, within the first 30 days, plan to analyze and learn about the company culture and organizational goals. During this time, you can also work to identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses. At the 60-day mark, start formulating your plan of action. Write down what things need to be accomplished and who you will need to work closely with to ensure the success of meeting your goals. Around the 90-day mark, you can begin to take actions for the small wins. Moving forward, continue to develop relationships with your team and your peers. Talk with your manager and share your observations from the past 90 days. Present your goals, and ask for feedback. Work collaboratively with your manager to ensure your success!  

Take Care of Yourself and Others

Many times, new managers fall into the trap of believing that being a workaholic is seen as a positive attribute. After being in management for more than 20 years, I can tell you that is a major misunderstanding. Workaholics create environments that set unrealistic expectations for their employees and themselves. This is an unsustainable practice and will result in the absolute opposite outcome of what you are looking to accomplish. Managers who do not model and encourage a solid work-life balance for their employees will see an unproductive, unmotivated, and unhappy team. That is a fact!

As people, we were designed to work hard and rest. It is scientifically proven that a lack of rest can have a detrimental effect on heath and relationships, personally and professionally. So as your new role emerges, keep in mind that you have the unique gift and ability to ensure the quality of life for those who work for you.

Make a Difference

You were wonderfully and perfectly made to do this job, and being promoted is a gift that can help you to serve others in a way that otherwise may not have been possible. Use this opportunity to make a difference, not only in your organization, but in the lives of the people that you lead.

Use the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people that you lead.
Tweet: Use this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people that you lead. @melissajackman @ThinkHDI

Remember, tech support communities such as HDI are an awesome resource for support. If you are unsure of what to do, post a question in a forum where you will have a large number of subject matter experts who can and will help! 


Melissa Jackman has more than 20 years of experience managing and motivating support teams in blended internal/external support environments. As help desk manager at Duquesne University, she is currently responsible for a team that supports approximately 15,000 users. Melissa is passionate about leadership and building and developing strong teams and individuals. She currently serves as the president of the HDI Steel City chapter, and she received her MS in leadership from Duquesne University. Follow her on Twitter @melissajackman.


Tag(s): supportworld, leadership, support center, workforce enablement

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