Despite a working life spanning more than a decade, I only recently became a manager for the very first time. This is a relatively late step up compared to careers in other industries such hospitality or retail, where one can be a supervisor or store manager managing a small team in half the time. Nevertheless, I’m keenly embracing the opportunity to develop my career, and to impart some of my knowledge and skills to an enthusiastic go-getter who is at my beck and call!
It’s a daunting prospect, being the shining beacon for direct reports. Undoubtedly, we all start off with the same intentions of being an inspiring manager who can successfully engage and motivate their team, coaching and providing feedback effectively to them, as well as developing their career along with your own. The difficulty is learning how you can do these things without inadvertently disengaging them, or having them hate you so much that they fantasize about keying your car.
There’s no shortage of management advice and literature out there, but seriously, who has time to read all those tomes of wisdom? All I know is that I don’t want to be the type of manager that I hated having – one that is controlling and micro-manages, one that takes credit for your hard work, and one that motivates their team through fear and humiliation.
Then there is the fear that I won’t actually live up to my own expectations. I’m scared that they will hate me or bitch about me, even though I normally don’t give a crap about what other people think. In a way, I want to be their mentor – someone that they can come to when they’re seeking guidance or support. And I want to be that fun person that they will like. But how do I balance that with getting good results, so that they won’t think that they can get away with stuff or undermine me.
After all, just because you get along with people doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be a good manager. I will need to be firm with providing feedback as required, and there will be times when tough calls will need to be made and I can’t be the “nice guy”.
I guess with anything in life, it’s probably not very useful overanalysing the situation. It’s a matter of taking things as they come and placing a bit of trust in myself and what my gut instincts tell me. One thing that I’m looking forward to is making a difference to someone’s career by being given an opportunity to be that manager that they will hopefully look back on in their career as one of the best managers that they’ve had.
So, any tips and advice would be appreciated!
* Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox