When I became a first-time manager, I was panic-stricken that I would fail. The questions in my head mostly began with “what if…?” I took a class, read what was available and still didn’t really understand how to make the transition from producer to leader. Any time the stress increased, I plunged into working harder and longer hours. I often just hid in my office going over spreadsheets till my eyes glazed over. Sound familiar?
I think it would have been helpful if someone had told me to stop thinking about myself and to focus on others. I had to figure that out by myself. When that realization came, I felt relieved of a burden and started enjoying what I did.
Dee Hock, author of One From Many said that the first thing leaders must do is to manage themselves. Manage the fears and doubts, manage the misconception that you have power over others and manage the relationships you have with the people you are there to support. You also have to manage the work that you do now as a leader.
The transition to managing others has to be a conscious one. That forces us to relinquish our skilled contribution and to facilitate others making their contributions. We need to manage the work, not do it.
Our values have to shift from self to others. This helps our focus to change from producer to director.
Our use of time has to change from filling it with tasks to making time for others inside and outside our business unit. Time has to be used to develop others, planning ways to accomplish business strategies and for communication.
Are your managers making the conscious shift to being a leader? I help managers transform into being leaders. Click here to see the introduction to my video series on transformational leadership.