Did You “Fall” Into Management?

Let me ask you an honest question – did you choose to be a manager? Was it really your preferred choice of career or did it just seem like the natural next step in the absence of others?

It really wouldn’t surprise me if your answer was no – that you ‘fell’ into management. I’m sure that is the case for many people. Perhaps you were in a position where you were out performing, happy, successful and thriving before you were promoted to being a manager, in the hope that you would be equally successful at managing others…after all, why wouldn’t you be?fallinmanage

Or perhaps you were in a role where you were technically brilliant. A real specialist, and ‘go to’ person in your chosen career path and the only route ‘up’ was to become a manager.

In both cases it often means doing much less of what you know and love and much more of managing others – which is a completely different skill set altogether.

This is something, as a Management Development Trainer and Coach, I have often seen. Managers that have been promoted internally who were once thriving in their role and now struggling to keep their heads above water. Managers, that although could do well given the right training, are often left to flounder with little or no support.

So, if you’ve found yourself in this position (or you’re about to promote someone) have a look at what you can do to make the transition easier.

1. Accept that being a manager is a different discipline

Just like going into any new role, there are things you won’t know how to do, and you just have to learn. Being a manager is really no different. Don’t expect to hit the ground running, no matter how much you’re expected to do that. Give yourself a break and some time to learn the ropes – being more successful in the long run, is more effective than trying to rush and making some mistakes with your new team.

2. Choose a role model

Just like in so many fields a coach, mentor or role model is vital. Look around the company or in your network for someone who has a lot of experience and is willing to share it. Someone who is well respected for their role as a manager or leader, and you can trust and can learn from. A good role model really is worth their weight in Gold.

3. Share your stories

You have experience and knowledge so share it with your team. Tell them about your successes and your failures. Become a role model for them. Knowledge is definitely for sharing and will help your new team know and trust you more.

4. Ask questions

Asking questions is not a failing. In fact it’s quite the opposite. The saying ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question’ is very true. Be curious and ask questions to further your knowledge and understanding. By doing this you’ll also encourage discussions, new ideas and new ways of thinking.

5. Don’t stop listening

Listening really is the key to all understanding, and it’s something that is very dear to my heart. By listening to someone you are instantly telling them that you respect them, and that what they are saying is important to you. It’s a simple habit but one that takes a bit of practice. Start by stopping what you’re doing when someone approaches you. It really does mean something.

And above all, stay human. Just because you’re a manager, doesn’t mean that you’re really any different to anyone else. With that in mind remain approachable no matter how busy or important you get and always stay true to your own values – and when the time is right, be prepared to pass on your management expertise to someone else…it’s your rite of passage.

This post has been republished with permission from Barbara Nixon

Barbara Nixon

Barbara Nixon

Management Development Trainer, Coach and Writer at Barbara Nixon
Barbara Nixon is a passionate learning and development specialist who gets a real kick out of seeing people develop and grow. Barbara is Director of Synaptic Change – a UK based training consultancy that designs and delivers bespoke management development programmes, and then embeds the learning back into the workplace -which is something that she is very passionate about. Although Barbara loves working with organisations and teams she also came to realise that not everyone has access to development programmes at work, and not everyone wants to share their aspirations with their boss – so Managers Mentor was born. An online space dedicated to motivating, developing and supporting others to achieve the success that they’re looking for in their role and career. In her spare time Barbara has 4 kids, grows veg to varying degrees of success and loves to read.
Barbara Nixon
Barbara Nixon

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