When I have been promoted to a manager, which was one of the important milestones in my career, I knew that it is not just a promotion or a pay raise but also a complete transition in my role for life. I have to learn multiple skills to live to my seniors’ expectation.
When I look back and see what were the common mistakes I made when I was a manager, I see lot many. Thought, to share my experience with you so that you won’t make such mistakes in your career.
In my new role, I was very excited as I was not an individual contributor but was responsible for making sure my team delivers. I was responsible for managing my team and their outcome. I was responsible for guiding them and influencing their work output.
But the challenge was how to do so? How to ensure that things keep moving the way they are but at the same time move towards improvement and better productivity, which helps the organization in long run.
In this journey, I made many mistakes and wish to share with you:
I was trying to do things by myself
I was an individual contributor before being a manager. I was responsible for work, which was assigned to me. It took me a while to understand that I was not only responsible for my work but for the work of my whole team. I need to learn how to delegate the responsibilities to my team with proper guidance rather than doing it myself.
It was a lot easier for me to do it myself than asking my team member post training. I was wrong. It was easier but not scalable.
There were many incidences where I have to tell the same thing again and again to my team members. I use to think it is waste of time and I can do it myself in minutes. Later, I realized to scale it is important to develop your team members.
Micromanager-I focus on details rather than Objectives
Being an individual role before I was a manager, I was used to getting gripped in the details of any assignment. I use to keep track of everything, like, to whom I have emailed, called or documentation of my notes etc. But being a manager, it was not possible for me to keep a track of everything my team is working on. Being micromanager is not good at all. Now I have realized that I have to focus on the big picture. I have to put the focus on progress than every little step involved.
I should tell my team what to do not how? They should be empowered to make their own processes until they are breaking company rules. Let their creativity come out. Let them take ownership and be accountable for what they are doing.
Being a manager, I have to develop my own style, which was not easy and can’t happen in a day. I have to work hard for it. I tried to copy the same way it been done before me. But I have to develop my own management style which required a lot of time but at least it allows me to challenge status quo, gain potential and make an impact on the organization.
Reading articles, book and taking mentorship from a leader helps you understand the right kind of managerial style.
Being first time manager, I wish to be an effective leader who is admirable for the team. I made promises I can’t keep. I failed to understand what it takes to actually follow through. Problems, which I was trying to close, been there for a long time than I realize because of deep realistic reasons. So I got flavor at first but after that, it’s hard for me to keep it up which has dented my reputation and credibility.
I miss change impacts
I forget to make some early changes, which I can immediately; like to eliminate repetitive steps and process, wasting time on daily meetings (ineffective) etc. These changes would have brought some efficiency back to the team.
But, it does not mean that you should make so many changes without giving a proper thought to it. In beginning, take your time before you finally decide to make substantial change.
Overthinking for a decision
Being first time manager, I got decision paralysis. I overthink every situation, which delayed a decision. I forgot that the choices I made not only affected me but my team and the entire department. I didn’t want to make mistakes or bad calls, which made me paralyzed and I never made a decision at all.
Not taking a decision is worst than making a bad decision. It is wise to look into each aspect before making a decision but the delay in decision making is not good at the same time.
Hold Back on
I was just following the process, which was in place since long before my time. I didn’t want to start changing things without sound knowledge about processes and things involved in it. But it backfired me because without any decision on pending things my team was not able to act on it and we were not able to deliver as expected as a team.
Being an effective, inspiring leader takes time. It’s like a key to finding out a balance between jumping in too fast and not jumping in at all. Between being eager to impact the team and staying realistic. I realize that its learning process to continually avoid these common mistakes so that I will be on my way to be a good manager I wish to be.
Blog posted by our Guest Blogger
Muhammad Asif Mansha