Rookie Managers, including myself, often fail in their new role. Now looking back at my first managerial job (10 years ago) I think that the reason for this was misconceptions and myths that I believed in as a new manager that lead to neglecting key responsibilities.
Myth #1: Authority.
I used to believe that as a manager, my new position gives me the power to be on top, to tell my direct reports what to do and that I have the freedom to implement my own ideas.
Reality: The reality is that I was not in control of anything, I learnt to sit at the back of the bus and let my direct reports drive. I learnt that I need to negotiate interdependencies, build influence by creating strong relationships based on trust and credibility, throughout my team and organization.
Myth #2: Control
I believed that I had to control my direct reports early on or they will walk all over me.
Reality: Compliance is not the same as commitment. I learnt (and still am learning) to create an empowered, committed and accountable organization. The more power that I am willing to share leads to more influence.
Myth #3: Lead by Technical authority
I thought that I needed to lead by example, and to be the best technical employee.
Reality: I had to learn to take the back seat and allow the team to come up with the technical solutions, even if I thought that they where not as good. I had to learn that it is the team’s performance that is important and not my own personal performance.
Myth #4: Keep everything running smoothly
As a rookie I though that it is my job to keep everything running smoothly.
Reality: Although keeping things running is really difficult, it is problem finding and initiating change that is required, even if this means going against the organizations structures and processes.
If you are a manager that just promoted a rookie, please remember these myths and try to explain the reality.
If you are a rookie, remember that you have to make your own success, become proactive, ask for help, your success depends on this.