One of the most challenging transitions in the corporate world is from individual contributor to people manager or director. But why…
This seems counter-intuitive as you are often asked to manage people with very similar jobs to your previous role. You are likely an experienced star performer and an emerging leader on your team. “How hard could this be??”
The challenge is that the skills and practices that got your promoted will not be the ones that make you a successful manager. “WHAAAT?? But, why not?”
There are a variety of reasons, but the #1 new manager/leader challenge is to STOP DOING. This is particularly hard, since DOING is what likely contributed to your prior successes. You were good at problem-solving, starting projects, and driving results; you were to the go-to person to get things done! It is hard to leave your success formula and break your well-rewarded habits.
But as an effective people manager/leader, your job is no longer DOING. Your job is to deliver a portfolio of results accomplished by your team. Your job is to plan, delegate, monitor progress, and facilitate the successes of your team. This does not mean DOING for them, SOLVING for them, or taking tasks off their busy plates. Counter-intuitively, over DOING (despite making you feel better) usually slows overall progress, demotivates employees, and impedes their professional development (not to mention totally overloads you).
I typically hear from new leaders “I am not sure what I can DO for Sally?”, “John is overloaded, so I’ll Do his weekly report, until he has more bandwidth”, “I don’t have time to let them figure it out, I can Do it faster, so I’ll just take care of it, this time”.
Can you hear yourself saying any of these things? If so, you are probably OVER DOING and UNDER LEADING. This well-meaning slippery slope will ultimately lead to mediocre results, and decreased employee engagement.
Have you ever seen this happen in your organization?