Management 1: Your secret manager keys

You just got promoted to your first management position.  You’ve worked hard, been a great employee, and are excited to finally get the power to be able to influence people with your new position and responsibilities.  You walk into the office, your boss whisks you away to the secret manager rooms and presents you with your secret keys.

Wrong!  Let’s examine some of what’s wrong with this line of thinking.

1. Power and influence don’t come from position

You can get short term results by barking orders, but long term people won’t be inspired.    In most situations, you gain power and influence by helping people achieve their goals.  You want to be on the right side of history as much as possible, and in order to do that, you’ll need to make informed decisions.    This is a large topic that we’ll develop over future posts, but for now, remember that you should be able to influence events and people without a formal management title.

2. Remove the curtain, even if you are a wizard

Overtly keeping secrets as a manager kills morale.  People understand that sometimes you can’t share everything you know for various reasons.  But make a strong effort to be open and honest.  It’s not about you.  No secret bathrooms.

3. What got you here will not get you there

You’ve done a good job of managing up and of contributing strongly as an individual.  Those are good skills, but they won’t make you a good manager.  As an individual you can succeed by keeping your head down and executing.   Management requires an entirely new set of skills such as empathy, being a good listener, being available, anticipating trends, proactively communicating, etc.

You spent a very long time mastering certain technical/trade skills, expect to spend just as much time learning and experimenting with what works for you.  Management can be a very rewarding experience where you can achieve more than you could as an individual.  Just make sure you become a student all over again!

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