Have you ever had that experience in that you can’t find the answer or the insight to solve a problem or
deliver a piece of work? This month, I admit that I have had a million ideas on what to chat with you
about, but none have come together. I have been completely stuck and felt unable to deliver.

When I was a young manager in the bad old days, I was a young manager, I remember how this space of not knowing used to completely freak me out. I felt disempowered. My blood pressure would rise, my temper would shorten, and I would get grumpy and snappy with everyone around me. I felt so alone and
terrified that if I admitted I didn’t have the answer, I would be seen as unworthy of the role and
responsibility I had been given. The need to please and be perfect was almost overwhelming.
Sometimes it was paralyzing. This is how I respond but I have coached young managers that, when
they feel disempowered by not knowing, they go into avoidance, unproductive busyness and even
feeling sick and incapable of being at work.

The demands in business are increasing as the pace and delivery expectations increase. The world is
getting more complex and the people leadership requirements to manage the diverse teams are often
new and unchartered territory. The high pressure to deliver to keep up has created management a
very tough job to take on. No wonder management is a scarce skill, especially empowered management.

Business has a responsibility to recognise the challenges young managers face. I am not talking
about making excuses for them or expecting less from them. The young leaders I am meeting are
incredibly resourceful and capable. They need additional support to be able to access their talents
and deliver to the expectations that are set, in an empowered way. How can business create the
space for their young managers to shine? Especially when they are feeling disempowered and like
they don’t have the answers.

Businesses that care about the rapid growth and confidence of their young managers put one or
more of three support structures in place:

  1. Operational Mentors

    Provide young managers with operationally experienced and
    successful leaders that can support the manager. Mentors provide their mentees with
    insight and guidance based on their own experience and knowledge. The relationship needs
    to be governed by mutual respect and confidentiality to allow the young manager to come
    to the mentor with trust and openness to learn. Normally, a mentor is not a line manager as
    this can blur the management and mentorship lines.

  2. Peer Brainstorming

    Show young managers that ALL managers have times when they don’t
    have the answers. A peer brainstorming session allows for managers of the same level to
    discuss challenges they are facing and work together to find solutions. These sessions need
    to be solution focussed and well-structured to facilitate safe sharing and learning together.

  3. Coaching

    Support managers to face their personal challenges that are limiting their
    potential and success. Group or individual coaching provides a safe space for young
    managers to challenge their beliefs and blocks. This is deeply personal work that supports the manager to connect with their talents, realise their authentic leadership style and make empowering decisions on how they will lead to achieve maximum success. Coaching provides the structure that allows for personal growth and development into mature leaders.

Young managers believe they need to do it alone. Experienced managers know they need to do it together. Truly successful managers are those that can reach out for support when they hit a block, can’t find the answer or feel inadequate for a task. As we mature as managers, we realise that this is the key to empowerment of self and others. Businesses that support young managers significantly increase the speed with which they mature and step into their own leadership power.

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