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Recruitment 411: Lessons of Leadership Part 3 – Setting up for Success

Today’s guest blogger is Eric Erickson, a communications specialist with the IRS Recruitment Office.

They say life is full of important lessons. I’m not sure who ‘they’ is, but I found out recently that they are correct. I spent about two months as the acting manager of the branch where my usual duties revolve around my role as a communications specialist. In my new assignment, I would be supervising eight co-workers who were previously my peers.

Our regular manager – who was on an acting assignment herself– has spent a lot of time instilling in our team the professional virtues that are important to her. We talk a lot about promoting teamwork, communicating clearly, giving feedback, and staying on top of industry trends.

The week I started my new assignment, all my anxiousness about taking on this new role washed away. I realized all that constant communication we hear from our regular manager was not just her wanting to hear herself talk. Rather, she was giving us the tools and resources to be successful – both individually and as a team.

The work my boss did before I took on this temporary assignment made my transition into the position positively free of stress.

Here are some of the things our boss does to build a better team:

Scheduled meetings without our manager: Our entire team meets with our boss every other week. On alternating weeks, she put a meeting on the books for our team to meet without her. This ‘teammates touching base meeting’ is less formal, but allows us to talk about anything on our minds – including our boss.

Recommended reading: On the agenda of every meeting we have, our manager includes articles and books that are relevant to the work we do – those featuring business best practices and tips for achieving success.

Spreading the experience: In many workgroups, only the highest graded employees are allowed to act as the boss in the manager’s absence. Our boss allows even the newest employees to co-act as manager with a more experienced employee. This gives us each the opportunity to learn more about the work being done by our colleagues, while also giving us all a sense of ownership over the work being done by the team as a whole.

Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.

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