It is my fifth year in management role. Now looking behind, i want to list things that i learnt along the way. Being a manager is not about getting a task done, it is mostly (actually totally) about having your team (making them a team) deliver.
- Failure to delegate: I believe most of the new managers fail in this step. They are promoted not because their soft skills, but they can get things done. Since they know how to get things done, they take full ownership of tasks, work like crazy because they have now more things to handle and complain that nobody does their job. They expect everyone to be just like them, they can’t trust their team and at the end either burnout or continue to be one man show.
- Micro-management: Once you start not trusting, it comes all down to knowing every detail and dictating even the smallest action by constant interruptions and leaving no room for involvement by others, in this context your team. If a manager thinks he/she should be the one that makes the decisions just for the sake of being in safe zone, there is no room for team members to evolve/learn. One might say, they can learn by watching, then i would say go learn algebra by watching some tutorials. The point is, leaving room for taking initiatives and encouraging is essential for development of your team. Everyone can make mistakes, but by making mistakes we learn.
- Time-management: So, you are a manager now, huh? You know how to manage your time. You are here because most likely you were the one who delivered most compared to others at any given time. But here is the catch, now you are expected not to complete tasks but also create, be involved in strategy and participate in discussions. Those activities will cut your time in half. So, you can’t deliver as much as you used to in terms of daily operations. But if you try to still deliver the same as before, prepare yourself for very long hours in office and skipping life.
- Development: You are no longer responsible for your own actions. You need to make a group of people work as a team, you need to provide your team (you need to make them act as a team first) meaningful work, a purpose. Otherwise why should they work? This is one of the emerging problems with new generations. They need purpose. So you need to focus on each of your team members personal development. I am not saying you need to act like a coach that solved the life meaning, but you should watch, see where they are struggling and try to offer some help. If you can’t, be able to forward them to some other people or other paths. In the end, you need to earn their trust.
- Listen and talk more: You need to set a flow of information in your team. The best way to do this talk a lot with your team. Overtime you will see your team talks more with you. Keeping you updated about what is going on. This time you will learn listening. Some might talk in details, some might be very shy. If it your job to be patient, encouraging and supportive.
Overall, management is not about you anymore. It is about making a group become a team and deliver. Better be clean from your desire to shine over and over, because you shined once and now you are a manager. Now you need to make others shine and their brightness will let you shine even more.