Are You in Charge?

Its tough to move from team member to team manager.

The jump to first-line supervision is a big one. Call it team management, management 101, leading others, the gist is the same. People leading others for the first time.

Often new leaders move up within their existing teams: one day a peer the next – the boss.

This is the hardest transition to make in organizations

Having helped many people make this shift through the years here are some things I've learned –

  • You're Not in Kansas Anymore – All your relationships – up and down the hierarchy – change when you become the formal leader. Things you've done before can't be done now. Personal friendships are hardest hit. You now have the ability to influence people's careers – that's not a normal element in a friendship. You can't party with the team, date one of them, friend them on FB, etc. Relationships change and you'll need to accept this to move on.
  • You're Part of Management – As an individual contributor you were responsible for the brand called you: you're now part of a team called management. When you do things people will ascribe it to this monolithic “management.” People watch, care about and look for consistency. You're part of a larger entity and not the Lone Ranger anymore. You have to think about personal and group responsibilities now.
  • Might Isn't Right – You're not going to “straighten things out” when you get to lead. Leading and controlling are not synonymous. People are complex and you will not force or compel them to do anything. You'll have to learn to lead, guide, coach, counsel and, when necessary, correct them. And you will have to listen. Seem like a lot of work? It is. Leadership isn't free.
  • Open and Easy Are Not the Same – High-performing organizations achieve results and develop people. Openness is essential to this. Don't confuse open with easy though. Open is being present to possibility. Encouraging input . Open listens and considers options. Open is adult, adaptive and accessible. But you can be dynamic and decisive and still be open. That's called boundaries.

Leading people – a team, department or organization – is the most challenging role you'll face. Honestly, most people don't do it well.

But if you take it seriously and honor the challenge you can become a difference maker. Study from those around you near and far, and commit to getting and acting on feedback. You can make personal improvement if you choose. We absolutely need skilled people managers.

We need you.

Welcome to the team.

 

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