“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”
— Stephen R. Covey
Not everyone wants to lead and manage a team. I remember talking to a co-worker about his management experience. Let’s call him Greg, he was working on a team with a boss he liked. The team got along real well and could get a lot accomplished. Then Greg’s boss said he was leaving the company and he was going to be the new manager as the rest of the team respected him.
Greg tried management for a few months. He attended a lot of meetings and felt like a fish out of the water. He wanted to be back in his normal role. The team no longer could produce the amount of work and Greg couldn’t let go. He would constantly re-work things others had already finished. The team chemistry suffered. Greg asked if he could move back to his previous role and they let him.
Greg didn’t fully understand what was going to be expected of him. Once he realized what his new duties were he was quite frustrated. Anytime we accept a new role or position we want to understand all the expectations that are involved. I usually say “Yes” to things without asking the right questions. If you are moving into management understand how much of your old job you must still do. If you comfortable with those expectations then you can move forward.
It is important before you take a step like this in your career to assess your skills that will be needed for managing a team. Talk with people who have made this conversion and listen for skills that you may need to work on. Leadership is not barking orders at people. You have to earn their respect first. Once you know your deficits put a plan together to improve in those key areas.
Managing a team requires a lot of communication. A few years ago in my first leadership role, I thought I was doing a good job communicating to a teammate. I had shared with this person multiple times what our objective for the next release was.
This person went ahead and made some changes that we didn’t want. We ended up creating a big issue that ended up costing me my job. So if you have a communication problem, being in management will amplify those issues. Communication is crucial to any teams success.
Learning to lead is something you should start doing long before you want to become a leader in your organization. If you see leadership in your future join a group and get into leadership. Perhaps it is Rotary, Kiwanis, or Toastmasters all groups are looking for leaders. As a Toastmaster, our group is always looking for people to step into leadership. Look for ways to develop this skill before you need it!
When you move into management you will start in a lower role. To accomplish things you will need to collaborate with other leaders in the organization. Working together to meet the priorities of the corporation is the best way to earn others respect and do more things. The person who tries to go it alone will meet opposition and struggle with completing projects.
As you manage a team you must learn how to delegate your duties. Take time to develop good relationships with your team members and learn their strengths. Never drop off assignments and disappear, help them understand what needs to be done, but don’t be condescending. The trust will build over time and you will increase your capacity.
Unless you were in sales before my guess is your persuasion skills might be a little rusty. Getting a team of people moving in one direction requires some persuasion and time. Don’t get frustrated if you have problems with this. Even some of the experienced leaders struggle with this. So keep trying and learning from your missteps.