Management and leadership have various different models and styles we can adopt. We might struggle with the balance between concern for results and concern for team members. We can be coercive or cooperative in how we work with the people in our team.

Wearing a Personal Mask

When we first are appointed as a manager, it can be difficult to decide how to behave. Because of this, many of us put on the mask of a manager, and it’s not really ourselves. The people we interact with recognise that something is not really what it appears, and that we are trying to be something that we are not.

Using masks is not new to us. When we are growing up, and especially in our teens, we adopt the masks used by those around us when we are not sure how to be. We decide that we will be a good girl or boy, a joker, a rebel or a sporty person. A mask helps us to move into the adult world. Later in life, some of us are not confident enough to put the mask down and be ourselves.

Management Behaviours

The challenge is that we do need to change our behaviour when we become a manager. We need to be comfortable giving instructions, giving feedback, checking on work completed, and sometimes having difficult conversations. We have to set new boundaries, and sometimes we are not included in the team in-jokes or nights at the pub.

Our management style needs to be a version of our true self. If we can’t let our true self through from behind the management behaviours, people sense the falseness, and don’t react well to us. They sense we are not being authentic, and then they don’t trust us.

Emotional Intelligence

So are we using an approach that helps us to be a good manager or leader, or are we covering up who we really are? If we do the first, we are showing good emotional intelligence, and if we do the second we are showing emotional dishonesty, and we will struggle to manage our team well. This is where coaching can help the newly promoted, because this aspect of development is not usually covered by mentoring from colleagues, and can be difficult to discuss. An external coach is an ideal resource for a new manager.

Alan Chatting is a psychotherapist and coach, with extensive experience in education, training and family mediation. He focuses on working with men in transition in some area of their life. To contact Alan, phone 01752 664429, 07753 693704 or email [email protected].