From the time we first joined the workforce we’ve always done our best. We’ve put in the hours, done the work, worked hard to get somewhere. You’ve developed your skills, you’re good at what you do. Over time, people recognized your abilities! You may have won awards or received recognition for your effort in other ways. This was all based on your individual performance. You're a Rockstar now. Some in your organization may even believe you are ready to take on new responsibilities. They offer and change your job to one that manages people directly based on your previous Rockstar performance. You are now a first-time manager.
We often have a tendency to hold on to those things that made us successful in the first place - that’s our learned experience. Those are the things you know. Your expertise gives you a lot of comfort, confidence. The truth is, heading into your first role as a manager there are number of things you need to stop doing, things that may have been part of your success to-date. Scary as that is, it’s important for your future success!
1. Stop telling everyone about how you did it when you were your Rockstar self
You know when somebody new to end your company and they continually tell you about how they did it in your old job. It can be the most annoying thing ever. Imagine now that you continue to tell people how you did their job when you were a rockstar. It certainly doesn't engender you to love and respect from your team.
2. Stop competing, you’re in a helping role now.
You were keenly aware as your Rockstar self that you wanted to be the best at what you did. That was fine then and undoubtedly helped you get where you are today. However, you have no competition now. Your have direct reports. Your direct reports are your team. That means you have a responsibility to them to make sure that they are okay. You have a responsibility to make sure that they are able to do their best job everyday. They're your people. They are your team. Make sure you take care of them.
3. Stop saying to yourself that, “I could get that done in 5 minutes why can’t he”:
Okay so you shared your vision, you set some tasks and objectives. It's time to get out and get things done - right? Maybe not. You are intimately familiar with what you want to happen and you’re ready to go. They, your team, may not be ready to go. They may need more from you - this is totally normal and part of your new role. Absolutely resist the urge to jump in and either tell them what to do or start doing the work for yourself. You will disempower and demotivate your team if you do. You are no longer the Rockstar individual contributor you are the manager. It is, now, your job to help unblock those folks who are having a hard time and allow them to thrive.
4. Stop thinking that your past success means people owe you anything or that it entitles you to something different than anyone else.
It's a funny thing but, your Rockstar status, before you got this job, often has no bearing on how your team actually perceive you. In fact, they could perceive you negatively because of it! The most important thing you can do for your team is to develop trust with each and every person. You must show them that you deserve and will earn their trust. Someone who people know is straightforward, supportive, truthful and worthy of their trust. Break that trust or prove yourself unworthy of it and building a cohesive, powerful team will be near impossible. If you aren’t trustworthy, people on your team won't support you and they may go so far as to point out your flaws, to your detriment. “Forbes published a survey that found that 65% of employees would forego a pay raise if it meant seeing their (uninspiring, non-motivating) leader fired”. Build trust and never take it for granted!
5. Stop hoping that, “If I just give them more time, they’ll come around” - they may not!
You know commitment when you see it. When people have committed to a task or a vision, they behave totally differently than when they're not committed. You have to be able to see and evaluate the level of commitment of everyone on your team. As a manager you have a responsibility to support those committed to the work and the team. For those committed team members, you also have a responsibility to help the uncommitted members find a different focus, a different team where they can better use their strengths. This is important because uncommitted people may end up being naysayers. They can become toxic to the team environment. This is one of the harder parts of managing a team and of being a first-time manager. It's something though, that you absolutely have to understand and get right.