Making the Leap to Leadership
It happens all the time: the outstanding worker promoted to management, the star performer as leader. Maybe it’s happened to you, or to someone you know. Maybe it happened to your own boss. Sometimes it’s a recipe for disaster.
The skills required to do the work – whatever “the work” is – are almost never the same as the skills required to manage other people doing it. More often than not, the old “doing” skills get in the way of the new “managing” skills, because the just-knighted manager knows more about what the employees should be doing than about his or her own job!
Micromanagement is a likely result. Little wonder, since most of these workplace promotions come with little training – except, perhaps, for an overview of the legal and procedural aspects of company policy.
And the problem gets magnified when we become defensive about our own capabilities. “I’ve been interacting with people for a long time, I think I know how to do it,” one newly-minted manager said with a scowl. Privately, his direct reports begged to differ.
This blind spot is one reason we’re so focused on the value of coaching. But if you don’t have a coach, there’s something else you can try – and this works whether or not you’re a manager. You have to take your self out of the equation. Make a list of the things your job requires, and then list the hardest parts. Imagine that you were about to assign those parts to someone else. What skills would that person need. Write those down too.
When you’re all done, take a look at the skills “that person” needs and decide how you might further develop them yourself. You've just written your own development plan from the third person perspective.
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