Getting into a Manager’s Shoe

manager shoeJust the other day, I was in conversation with a trainee who was part of one of my Everything DiSC Management workshop. He had been recently promoted from a client facing role into a management position and was a month into his new job role. Like many other freshly minted managers, he was handpicked for the job because of his outstanding performance. But instead of being thrilled, he looked guilty and confused, almost like a child who is caught red-handed stealing sugar from the sugar bowl.

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I asked him what was bothering him, but the fact was that he himself wasn’t sure about what it was. He claimed to be overwhelmed by the new role. Having been directly assigned to certain burning issues he had to spend all his time putting out the fire. He lost focus on people centricity, did not have time to listen to customers and wasn’t sure about his priorities. The result was that performance suffered and people who had once respected him were now skeptical. Even he himself wasn’t sure if he was at the right place.

Organizations handpick people for managerial roles by either looking at their technical competence or their performance in current job roles. Many a time, neither the organisation nor the person realise changes that the role requires. A manager’s performance today is no longer based on their individual performance, but on their ability to drive team results. The transition from an individual contributor to a team captain is not easy for most people.

A manager’s success irrespective of whether they are a rookie or a veteran, is determined by how well they can understand their own behavioural skills, management style and use this learning to adapt their style to direct, delegate, motivate and inspire people around them. Most managers in their urge to perform compare themselves to peers or bosses and try to fit into their shoes, instead of looking for the ones that fit them. This is why a top performer, who otherwise has impeccable people skills , on becoming managers ,struggles with minor issues like winning the trust of his/her team or listening to grievances.

Most aspiring or first time managers fail to understand the thin line that differentiates encouragement from micromanagement. You may be tracking your team’s progress minutely, with the intention of supporting or encouraging them, but they may feel they are being bossed around. The contrast is when you are a “do it yourself” guy. It won’t take too long for you to realise that your team is having a field day when you have been doing all the work yourself. So it is important to know the five W’s and one H of delegation.

Delegating, prioritizing, communicating, listening – though you may feel you’ve heard it all before this is where you trip and fall. Reading is one thing, knowing another but practicing it is a different ball game altogether. Though this article might make you feel that this story is about rookie managers, trust me many experienced managers irrespective of their levels, face similar challenges.

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Sonia Kapur

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1 Response

  1. naina says:

    experience is the best teacher. most managers become too rough or too soft – at least in the early years in this role.

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