Millennium Mom

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Managing others

For many working moms, work isn't just about managing your job, work load, schedule and so on but actually managing other people and their well being. Often this is exponentially more challenging then managing your job. At P&G where I work, when you manage another person you are responsible for their work plan which outlines what they will work on, what deliverables they have, success criteria for the deliverables and so on. Then on an annual basis you have to do a Work and Development plan which reviews their accomplishments and present them for calibration. This is a very important task in marketing, as we are a promote from within company and what rating your person gets become critical in them advancing. It is also tied to salary. So it can be stressful as you always want to be a strong manager and set your people up for success.

I have been without a subordinate for 7 months while my brand manager is on maternity leave. While I didn't have the stress of managing her (not that it was stressful, but it does take time), on the other hand I didn't have her. Which meant work that she may typically do now fell on my hands. I was so glad she decided to take a long time off, and that she wanted to return to her role with me, but that meant holding her job which we don't typically do for that long. But we made it work and in 2 weeks she returns, I could not be happier.

So over the last month I have been putting a lot of time into developing her work plan, to make sure she is set up for success. She will only be working an 80% schedule, so I wanted to make sure it wasn't too much, but not too little either. This is my first time doing a reduced work schedule work plan. She was happy with the plan and aligned to it.

This week and next I will be walking on egg shells a bit, around how to best re-integrate her. I don't want to send her too many emails before she returns, as she is on leave and should enjoy it until the last minute. But I also don't want her to feel like she hit a wall and had to start running from day one. I would like to ease her in a bit. So I am trying to create background documents to catch her up, action plans for her first month and so on.

In some ways I wish people did this for me when I returned, but I really only went back to my same job once...and I hated it. They held my job for 4 months. I had 4 people reporting to me and when I came back to work I suddenly felt like I had 6 kids, my two at home and the four at work. They were so needy, as they got no coaching, feedback or attention while I was gone. The place was a mess. In this case it is the opposite going on, as my subordinate was on leave vs. the boss being on leave. But I am trying to remember what would have been helpful then and do that for E.

I hope I am doing the right thing and that her transition back goes as best as can be expected. She will of course miss her little girl, but that will happen regardless. She has asked for some guidance on that and I have given her some thoughts on how to handle it, to make the first week as smooth as possible, etc. But a lot of it is sheer emotion that has nothing to do with work.

So I head back into the land of managing others. I look forward to having her great skills back, a friend back and another mom in the group.


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