I was reminded today how hard it can be when you first become a manager.
My own experience (yes, many years ago) was of being left to get on with it, managing a small team of bright young things.
Lucky for me that they were all more than willing and able – and in addition the most wonderful people. So, a fairly easy ride, but a few challenges along the way, nevertheless.
This is what I wish I’d known:
- That my own manager had shared with me what it feels like to suddenly become responsible for other people
- That your direct reports will want to discuss not just the business of the day, but their marriages, their break-ups, their health, their wealth, their welfare
- That I might expect to go home on more than one occasion outraged that one of my team, or someone else’s, could have said/done what they had
- That I’d be saying goodbye to the luxury of being able to come in, hang up my coat and sit quietly at my desk while I got on with my own work, and instead, have to give in to everyone’s can you just demands at any time of the working day (and sometimes beyond)
I often wonder if it was my experience of going through that first-time manager role that drew me to the world of leadership development and coaching, for I love being able to support others in their new roles and help them to make fewer mistakes than I did.
And lest you think that my natural tendency towards positivity has up and fled, let me be very clear . . . being a manager of fabulous people can be rewarding, exciting, motivating, fun. Supporting individuals and whole teams through a change programme; developing someone who previously lacked confidence; watching people leave and move on to even greater things – they’re definitely worth it.
But today, it struck me that before we get there, we naturally see things from a different perspective. A case of you don’t yet know what you don’t yet know.
So what opportunity do you have to give a dig out to someone who’s now in the situation you were once in?
What could you do to allow someone to benefit from the wealth that is your experience?
Could you put yourself in their shoes today, for just a few minutes?