Finding your footing in a new career can be tough. Struggles and feelings of uncertainty are not uncommon but are often hidden or pushed aside, leaving younger team members feeling isolated. Managers have the opportunity to offer support and helpful words of advice. Here are three topics every leader should cover with new team members.
1. Progress Journal
“Little by little becomes a lot.” – Anonymous
When starting a new career, progress can feel slow. As a leader, it’s your job to help your new team members see that growth is happening. One way to monitor growth is by keeping a journal. Suggest your mentee write down both their struggles and successes. Remind them to date each entry and to be open and honest, as their journal is for their eyes only. Later, in a moment when they feel stuck in a rut, you can tell them to look back through their journal. Often, we feel like we aren’t seeing any movement in our careers when in reality, we are progressing little by little. By journaling, we have anecdotal records of the obstacles we’ve overcome and the strides we’ve made, inspiring us to continue to push forward.
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.
The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
– Alexander Graham Bell
It’s difficult to master anything when trying to master everything. This is an important lesson to pass along. People in new careers are often anxious and feel pressure to “catch up” to those who are more advanced. This results in having too many irons in the fire, feeling overwhelmed and experiencing career burnout. To prevent this common pitfall, focus is key. Help your newer team members prioritize and focus on a few key goals at a time. Not everything is imperative. Stress that, then help them identify what is. Eliminate the background noise and hone in on what will produce results. Teaching the skill of focus will help your young team members produce long term growth throughout the life of their careers.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” -Theodore Roosevelt
In today’s world of social media, where everyone’s “best self” is constantly on display, it’s difficult not to fall victim to the temptation of comparison. While it’s true that comparison can be used as a motivator, it can also serve as a stumbling block. Sometimes we find ourselves looking at the next person’s accomplishments and wondering why we haven’t amassed the exact same success at the same rate. Our self-esteem plummets and we begin to question what’s wrong with us. As a leader, you can help your team members understand the difference between healthy comparison that propels people to action, and toxic comparison that tears people down. Additionally, you can provide ways to channel the emotions attached to comparison into productive action that will result in the accomplishment of goals.
Great leaders have the foresight to help their mentees avoid potential storms. Offering advice that will acclimate your younger team members to their new careers may lessen some of the stress they experience throughout their first year. By covering these three topics early on, your novice team members will be prepared to handle whatever comes their way.