Who is junior?
According to Wikipedia “a person who is a specified number of years younger than someone else.” or “a person with low rank or status compared with others.”
I am coaching managers how to lead a team of experienced and juniors, and at the same time I help juniors to find and start their first job, BUT do I remember what it means to be a junior?
In order to discover it newly, last month I started to do a new sport activity that I used to love when I was in high school. Sport that I did for years, and forgot about this love.
When I start to play with the team I come with less, sometimes much less experience than the rest of them. New beginning accompanied with the questions: How do I develop team trust? How do I speed up my expertise? How do I enjoy each training session? How do I develop the relationship with my trainer/coach (boss)? Should I develop this relationship?
Photo: Tom Fisk on Pexels
Following my last short experience, a lot of knowledge and experts publications I would like to summarize number of points:
How should managers develop any team member, especially junior?
What junior's responsibilities should be to succeed in any team?
Get to know them. Sounds simple, and it is! Spending time with your employees and getting to know them is an easy and effective way to engage employees. Learning about their families, backgrounds and personal goals enables you as a manager to develop a stronger rapport with them. Find time in the day to say hello, ask them how their families are doing or inquire about their hobbies. This is a quick and straightforward practice that can make your employee feel like their presence is known and that you care about them as an individual.
Provide them with the tools for success. As a manager, you not only have to oversee different facets of business, but you should be sure your employees understand what they are doing. Training within their specific job descriptions can offer them more confidence in what they’re doing. When one of your team members is unsure of what to do, or how to handle a situation - share your experience, ask experts in your company, hire an outsource expert, offer additional coaching or training if needed. Providing your employees with a strong foundation for the tasks ahead is a good step towards raising their level of engagement.
Gentle mentoring, good onboarding plan - “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg.
Let them know how the company is doing. They are the backbone of the enterprise, and many times its success or failure will depend on them.They should be made aware of successes, concerns, and struggles. Provide employees with a briefing of not only the company’s fruitful ventures but also the ones that didn’t work out so well. Allowing your team to know what works and what doesn’t grants them the opportunity to develop new ideas for the weaker areas, and continue to be proactive in the sectors that are working. Transform them to team players and only tasks makers.
Encourage teamwork among employees. There is a reason that people flock to team sports. When a group of people pulls together to win the big game, it often comes an infectious feeling that engulfs everyone around them—from teammates to the fans—the sense of camaraderie and success spreads to the masses. The same can be said for the workplace environment. Pulling your team together to work towards a big company goal can be incredibly satisfying, and allows them to bounce ideas off each other to ultimately meet the needs of your client. It adds a sense of cooperation, consideration, and confidence in not only each other but in the company, itself. Give the junior opportunity to be supported by each one of the team members, give them the opportunity to learn from everyone. There is much faster junior development among more experienced employees vs same level or lower level employees.
Listen to and act on employee feedback with authenticity. Do you ever feel as if you're wearing a mask? Perhaps you think that you have to act a certain way around your boss, or say certain things to your colleagues, so that you'll be accepted. Instead of being yourself, you're playing a role to fit in, or to impress others. Most of us have gone through times like this. Instead of behaving in a genuine way, we tell people what we think they want to hear, and act in ways that go against our true nature. In short, we're living inauthentically. Listening to your employees. And if you listen, use active listening. Really listen. Because if you are not, after once or twice an employee shares with you important feedback they will stop doing this. Having regular meetings to determine what areas of your workplace environment need improvement is an important part of keeping the employees engaged with the company.
Manage with Integrity. It takes courage to develop and preserve integrity . Study each choice that you make, and ask yourself which one will make you feel good about yourself the next day. Living with integrity also means that you take responsibility for your worlds, actions, including your mistakes. Many companies spend a great amount of time and money to hire the best candidates - juniors or experts by not sharing with them all the truth. 70% of the time employees' expectations of a position do not coincide with the real situation. As a result, employees start to be disappointed after 3-6 months of doing the job. Manager’s job is to equal employee’s and company expectations by communicating honestly with integrity and explaining all the details.
We are always winning the game we are playing! But we are not always aware of the game we are playing.
Photo: Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels
* Some juniors put all the responsibility on the employee's side. Please don’t forget about your part of responsibility!
Starting a new job is scary. Whether you're straight out of course or have been in the workforce for 20 years, entering into a new work environment can make you feel as if you've stepped foot on another planet. In order to succeed, both socially and professionally, you're expected to learn these things:
WHO YOU ARE. CREATE YOUR BRAND. Now that you're starting your first day as an employee, don't downplay the importance of first impressions. Your first 90 days on the job are often treated as an extension of the interview. That means you should use every interaction to prove that you're a respectful, professional, and diligent worker, but also that you're someone who your colleagues will enjoy spending eight hours a day with. Create connections with team members, learn about the company values, company goals. It’s a small world, the people you are working with today, you can meet in your next company, they can be your next boss, investor or interviewer. Create life connections.
DEMANDS AND BOUNDARIES. Setting healthy boundaries in regards to work. When you set healthy boundaries, you are clarifying what is acceptable and unacceptable to you in regards to how late you're willing to work, the total number of hours you're willing to work, how you'll deal with saying "no" when needed, and how personal you're willing to allow your work relationships to be. Once you set the example that you're willing to do certain things, it's hard to go back. In other words, if your manager sends you emails over the weekend, and you respond, then you may unknowingly set the expectation that you will always be willing to work on weekends.
DON’T STOP ASKING QUESTIONS + DEVELOP YOUR LEVEL OF EXPERTISE. Don’t stop asking questions to experts, your colleagues, your manager, but in a structure that works for both sides. Create the balance between interrupting your colleagues hand-on musing time and being shy and sitting on your task for a week without asking for help.
BE INVOLVED. If you have something to say during the meeting, happy hour, morning stand ups - Don't be shy - say - don’t wait till the moment you will be experienced enough to say something during the meeting.
TIME MANAGEMENT / PROJECT MANAGEMENT. As many managers say, “When I ask my employee how much time it will take you to complete this task, when the junior answers me I add 30%-50%.” Learn to analyze your time-effectiveness and develop the power of your word and the ability of being on time.
DEVELOP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR. Happy, outgoing, and slightly playful people at work not only show their own happiness, but increase it in others. Humor is the best way to solve conflicts.
GENEROSITY AND TEAM WORK WITH YOUR MANAGER. Your first company may not be Google or Facebook. Maybe you will start with a company where still not all the management and organizational processes are developed great, you will find not perfect processes, as you learned in your University courses, or read in articles or heard from your friends. DON’T JUDGE. Understand and empower your manager. Play/work with your manager not against him/her.