Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Maturity Takes Time And Guidance

“These new kids!” Do you sometimes shake your head in frustration at the poor judgment and lack of maturity shown by newer employees, especially younger employees? Take heart, in a few years those employees will be shaking their heads too, and complaining about the “kids we hire nowadays.”

Not long ago I was teaching a group of new supervisors who had been working in their profession for only about six years, on average. One of them said, “These kids we’re hiring aren’t like the ones even a year ago. We’re getting them more immature all the time.” I suggested that perhaps he was getting more mature all the time. He vehemently said, “No, I’m not!”  (His coworkers said he was telling the truth!)

What were you like as a fledgling employee? Supervisors and managers are correct to hold even the newest employees to high standards. However, sometimes it is wise to recall how we were as fledgling employees. Can you recall something you said or did that embarrasses you even now, to think about it? Have you turned out pretty well, anyway? So will most new and young employees, if we train them, support them and guide them–and correct them when it is needed.

The best kind of supervisory guidance.  It is important to train employees in the competencies of the job, and to help them develop professionally by giving them opportunities for learning experiences. However, one of the best kinds of guidance we can provide is to help employees see how they can achieve much more personally and professionally–and how much more they can contribute to the organization and the team–if they work to attain emotional, mental and professional maturity.

In that context, some of the indicators are: Willing to take responsibility for one’s own success and for a role in the work environment, a desire to improve, adaptablity and flexibility, patience, perserverance and dependability, and expanding their thinking and perspectives.

Talk about that concept with each employee. Give them opportunities to gain and demonstrate maturity, and use the words that describe maturity when you praise them.

It took you a long time to mature–and you still are working at it. You still use poor judgment on occasion; you still behave inappropriately now and then; you still lose sight of the big picture and focus on your own personal needs at work. You also are always in the process of growing and maturing. That is true of every employee you supervise as well. Some mature more quickly than others and some never develop to full effectiveness. But, whatever their development, your age, tenure, experiences and job roles will probably always make you feel more mature than they are. In turn, they will view those with less tenure than them as the immature ones!

Your biggest reward. It can be very rewarding to watch employees get better at every aspect of their jobs and become more mature. What you will find even more rewarding is knowing you have helped in the process of development. That does not happen merely because you are a supervisor, it happens because you communicate about important things–and because you care.

Look around and identify those who need to mature so they can begin to achieve their potentials. See them as they can be, not neccessarily as they are. Then, help them become what you know is possible for them. Not all will live up to their potentials, but those who do will never forget you. Perhaps they will use your example to encourage them to guide others.

July 7th, 2008 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Supervision and Management | one comment

1 Comment »

  1. I’m waiting to turn into a swan, but my boss tells me I’m still a turkey. I guess I have a problem. lol

    This is a good article and one that a lot of bosses and supervisors need to remember. I hear them gripe about the new kids, but they don’t do anything to help the new kids grow up at work.

    I know you find this hard to believe, but I was young once myself and remember how I appreciated someone I could look up to at work. There weren’t many, but the ones that were definitely made an impression on me. I try to do the same thing here.

    Comment by Wiseacre | July 9, 2008

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