I talk to a lot of managers, some are experienced and some are new, some are successful and some are not.
But something that frequently shows up in most of these conversations is how their idea of management pre-promotion was so different from what they experienced it to be once they’ve been in the role for a while.
One of my favorite question to ask is what they wished they had known before they started leading a team. And, interestingly, most answers can be boiled down to a few key “myths”.
Are you interested to hear them?
I hope that was a “hell, yes” 🙂
So, let’s get to it…
Myth #1: Becoming a manager means having more freedom and autonomy
You might be under the false assumption that becoming a manager meant having more freedom and autonomy to do what you feel is best for the company.
You possibly focused on the privileges and power that come with the title, believing that you would finally “no longer be burdened by the unreasonable demands of others.
But, becoming a manager actually means having less autonomy than when you were an independent employee because you now have a team and a boss… you’re kinda the meat in the sandwich.
Your job is no longer to get your work done autonomously, but to help a whole team reach their goals while responding to the expectations of upper management. You have to manage both up, and down.
Myth #2: I will be in control
You might be under the misconception that you’d have control over your employees simply because you’re now the boss. But, thinking that employees will listen to you because ‘they have to” is a myth. So too is believing that achieving success in your role means maintaining this control.
Success isn’t your employees doing what they’re told because they have to. Success is your employees being personally committed to a course of action because they believe in you, and have fully bought into your vision and capability as a leader.
The bottom line is that success comes from connection, not delegation, and your credibility and success as a leader has very little to do with formal authority in the end.
Myth #3: People will listen to me because of my expertise
You’re likely pretty sure that people will trust your direction because of your expertise, your hard skills.
But… your hard skills will now take a backseat to your soft skills, your human skills. Because what matters now is your ability to help your team build up their own expertise – not do the job for them.
Employees want to learn and grow, not be saved. In fact, jumping in with your own skills will usually be perceived as micromanaging.
Since the essence of your new role is relationship-driven, the skills required to excel as a manager are human-based. To be effective, you need to be open to learning about yourself, your vulnerabilities, emotional strengths, and weaknesses.
It takes discipline and commitment.
If you commit to your own self-learning and nurturing your emotional intelligence (EQ), you’ll build the capacity to help others succeed that’s what will make you a boss people love to work for!
Myth #4: I will be on center stage
You might believe that you’ll remain center stage under the spotlight, or might think that you’ll even be more so on the center stage now that you’re the boss. Possibly you’re looking forward to receiving more recognition than ever!
True success for you as a manager comes from stepping out of the spotlight and moving behind the scenes! It means guiding a team from the bottom up and shifting the recognition that you’re used to receiving to others.
A great leader is happy to let others shine and understands that their success is found in the reflection of their people’s accomplishments.
Understanding these myths early on and living by what’s the reality of successful managers will make a huge difference in your leadership career.
I’m curious which of these resonated most with you and what other assumptions did you have about management before you found yourself in a leadership role? Simply hit “reply” to this email and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
Your leadership coach,