Our guest blogger today is Jon, a recruiter in California working for the IRS Recruitment Office. He just finished a temporary assignment as acting manager over one branch of our office.
Going through the IRS training program for future managers has been an exciting journey for me. I started the program by attending a one week class to learn more about leadership and to begin building a good leadership foundation. I studied leadership competencies, individual behavior styles, communication skills, and teamwork processes. However, I learned the most from taking a good look at myself, my personality and evaluating how this would all tie into leadership. It was a very eye-opening experience.
The next step was a 60-day acting assignment as the manager over one group of our IRS recruiters. This would be an off-site assignment as my team members were all located in various locations. I had mixed feelings about this assignment because it involved managing my former peers who are all located on the other side of the country. On top of that, my current manager was about to become my peer. How was this all going to work? Right away, I knew I had a lot of challenges to overcome. The expectations were huge; not only from upper management, but from the team I would be leading.
Working on a team all located in different cities and states is especially challenging, but when you get the right mix of ingredients, the potential is unlimited.
Building a productive and efficient off-site team requires foresight, planning, dedication and a lot of hard work. One of the biggest challenges I faced was building and maintaining trust between my team and myself. Trust is critical for creating open communication channels between team members and sustaining motivation of each individual. The issue of trust needs special attention at any stage of team existence. My team experienced a huge amount of transition in management over the year. I quickly learned that earning my team’s trust was priority number one when taking on a leadership role.
Communication proved to be another challenge. When relaying on e-mail and other online tools to communicate, there’s an increased possibility that messages could be misinterpreted. The words that one person writes in an e-mail might be interpreted differently by the others who read it. Creating an open door communication policy helped us all overcome this hurdle. I learned right away that each of my team members preferred different styles and forms of communication. Some preferred daily chats on the phone while others preferred electronic communication on a less frequent basis. It’s all about getting to know your team and being flexible
My experience as an acting manager and as a participant in the IRS management training has been very positive. If you have a passion for leadership, I highly recommend getting involved in a management training program, which helps build a good foundation, giving you the tools you need to succeed.
Good luck out there future leaders!
What kind of training program does your organization have to prepare people for a leadership position?
Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.