As it is the case for many promotions around the world, my first promotion to a managerial role was based solely on my technical ability, knowledge, and production volume. I had no prior management or leadership training.
Just like any newbie, I was bound to make mistakes. Here are the first 3.
I – Kept Doing It All (Forgot to Delegate)
After several years of being on my own, I got in the habit of feeling important by doing. The more the responsibilities, the harder I worked and the more time invested. My motto was “since I’m responsible, I have to do it”.
As time went on, and the workload tripled, the Law of Significance slapped me on the face. If I wanted to get it all done, I had to start relying on the team around me.
Going at it alone caused:
- Lack of team development.
- If I’m not sharing my tasks with others, how can they learn?
- Lack of engagement from the team.
- No personal management skill development.
- Leadership must be practiced, knowing and doing are totally different.
- No personal time or social life, and high stress.
Lesson learned: delegation frees my time for better things and develops others.
II – Assumed I Would Have More Influence
My first instinct when promoted was assuming I had a place at the table. I couldn’t be more wrong.
Misconceptions I had:
- A Sr. in front of my title made me important.
- Everyone would listen to my ideas.
- My decisions were final.
- My way was better than others.
- I lead others follow.
What I learned:
- Sr doesn’t mean anything when attached to the word “analyst”.
- I was still young in my career and didn’t know much about the big picture of the company. I was a small fish in a giant pond.
- For others to listen, I must first listen to them, understand their ideas, and show I care.
- There’s always someone with more experience and a better understanding of the issues.
- My small view of the business prevented me from seeing the impact my decisions made on others’ work areas.
- Someone else always come up with a better way to do it.
- Following was really more compliance and bare minimum production.
- The title only works for a few months. After that time, people can call your bluff and figure out what you really know.
III – Forgot to Control Emotions
The new title gave me more spot light time. As such, my emotional reactions had a higher impact than before. Any negative emotions immediately decreased my influence and trust from others.
Lesson learned: Leaders set the standards for behaviors. As such, as soon as my promotion was effective, I forgo the option to show negative behaviors, attitude, and communications.
What are some of the mistakes you made as a first time manager? Check in next week for part 2.