So, you’re the new boss. Last week, you were on the team, and now you’re in charge. So, what’s next? If you’re like many promoted managers, you performed well in your previous position, but you’re not prepared to be the manager.
When You’re The New Boss
Years ago, I was promoted from sales to my first retail management position. I thought managing was paperwork, planning, counting money, etc. I didn’t understand management is 99% about people and the best managers help people to improve. In no way was I prepared for this role, yet I was asked to conduct meetings, hire, train, and supervise employees. Although I was told to complete these activities, I wasn’t given training or direction. Never was I told how or why. It was expected that if I were good at sales, I would be a good manager. Really? It was expected somehow, perhaps by osmosis or telepathy, I would know what to do. My superiors considered my exposure to previous managers (also untrained) to be my training. Sound familiar?
Once, I was the assistant to a manager who left early and often. They told me that he excelled at developing managers because he threw you in the deep end! It was a sink-or-swim management training system. Over the years, I have learned this system (or lack thereof) of management and leadership development is all too common. It continues to prevail in all types, sizes, and areas of organizations. For example, I knew a NASA engineer who excelled at engineering but lacked people skills. He was promoted to departmental manager but given no management or leadership training.
You’re the New Boss, so Where Do You Begin?
Good question. So, have you worked with leaders you would like to emulate? Ask them to be your mentor. Ask friends if they know an effective leadership group near you or online. Are classes available? Find someone you respect and like and follow them. Read articles, listen to webinars, and watch podcasts—study leadership.
When I began searching for how to be an effective leader, the library and bookstore had thousands of sources. Today, the sources are nearly unlimited, maybe too many. If you google “leadership,” you’ll get more than 250 million results.
Manage Projects Lead People
You manage projects and lead people. Becoming an effective manager is more than project management. It’s about becoming a leader. It’s not only about the day-to-day operations of an organization. Nor is it just knowing how to order thing-a-ma-jigs or when to pay the electric bill. I hope you have a procedure manual for those activities. It’s not all about legalities, and for the most part, it’s not about human resources. Again, hopefully, you have attorneys, HR managers, and policy books for these. It’s about helping others understand and get what they want while improving the organization.
But First, Are You Sure You Want To Be the Manager?
You must be completely honest with yourself. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager; if you’re not, and you accept the role, you’ll likely be an unhappy camper. Review the list below, and ask yourself, “Why am I considering (or in) a management position?”
- Power & control
- Less work, stress, hours, demands, etc.
In my humble opinion, there’s only one compelling reason to be a manager. It’s because you enjoy helping others. You get a kick out of watching your team members grow as part of the team and as human beings. You may have secondary considerations, but if coaching, teaching, and helping aren’t your primary reasons, management may not be your best option. If you’re uncertain about your motivation to be a manager, consider your experience. Have you been a helpful teammate? Do you revel in others’ successes and enjoy helping others?
Do you believe you’re cut out to be a manager? The best advisers and mentors are those who speak to you. Go find them. These spoke to me.
How Can I Help?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
Does your business have a management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program.