How to be a New Manager
2 MAJOR Adjustments to Make When You are Promoted to Manager
Transition from a ‘doer’ to a ‘manager’ is difficult. Books have been written about how to be a manager. Lots of books. If you don’t have time to read all those books, this is a good place to start.
Life B.M. (‘Before Manager’) you’re a doer, a technician. You come in off the streets armed with a set of skills and over time with your organization you hone those skills to do you work as best you can. The work’s typically assigned to you and is well defined.
Here’s the two things you need to consider when that changes, when you’re promoted to manager and everything turns on its head.
Open-Ended Problem Solving
The first thing that changes when you become a manager is no one’s spoon feeding you the work anymore. The work that comes across your plate is typically open ended problems in the form of fires (and some times sold work) that you’re asked to solve. The mistake I made as a manager was I didn’t see it that way. I was the same person with a new title and trusted to figure it out. It was really hard for me making this tradition because I hadn’t thought about how to solve open-ended problems.
Here’s what you do with open ended problems. The first thing you need to do is set the constraints. Things you’ll consider are the desired outcome, the budget and the schedule. Taken together these things are considered the iron triangle of project management. If you establish these three things it makes it way easier to fill in the details.
Delegate the Damn Work
Yes, you were promoted because you can do the work and do it well. When you become a manager the expectation is that you don’t do (as much of) the work anymore. Michael becoming a manager doesn’t mean he can clone himself and do more work. Holding onto the work and doing it yourself is the second biggest hurdle for new managers. When I was promoted I thought, “Why would I hand this work to someone who can’t do it as well as me?” The answer to that question is a) because you holding onto all the work creates a bottleneck and b) your job is to develop your team so that together you can do more work, better. Your job as a manager is not to do the work, it is to create a safe place where the members of your team can operate, make small mistakes, have some wins and make some strides in their own development.
✌️& 💜. Thanks for reading.
Written while listening to 🎧 Survivor Know-It-Alls.