Becoming a manager is a stressful, yet rewarding, experience. Beginners in management often fail in their first role. This is mainly because of their misconceptions about what it means to be the boss. In this post, you will find the main misconceptions about management, reality, and tips for successful leadership. The main misconceptions of the new managers are:
- I can rely on the same skills that led me to the management role.
- Being a manager means I am more independent.
- Formal authority is a source of power.
- Results delivery requires controlling people.
- I must build relationships with individual subordinates.
- I will make sure that the operation will keep running smoothly.
1 – Be a leader. Don’t be a star.
- Myth: I can rely on the same skills that led me to my new role.
- Reality: The required skills to be a successful manager are completely different. You learn them mostly by experience. You need to put your emotional intelligence at work.
- Tip: Prepare yourself for the management role before you take it. If you already are a manager, it is never too late. Learn and practice.
2 – Stay humble, you can’t do whatever you want
- Myth: Now I can implement my brilliant plans. I can change everything.
- Reality: You are tied with a complex chain of interactions. You discover that someone who works for you could get you fired.
- Tip: Build your network inside the organization. Learn how to negotiate and influence. Understand the interdependencies and stay humble.
3 – Don’t rely on your formal authority. You must earn it.
- Myth: My position is a source of power.
- Reality: You can’t be more wrong. It will surprise you that people will not give you respect and trust you for your formal authority, you need to earn it.
- Tip: Demonstrate competence (listen more than talk), character (your willingness to do the right thing) and influence in the organization.
The more talented the subordinate, the less likely he/she is to follow orders.
4 – Don’t seek compliance. Seek commitment.
- Myth: I must get compliance from my subordinates. I am in charge; I control.
- Reality: More often than not, direct reports will not respond when you tell them to do something.
- Tip: Build commitment by empowering individuals to achieve team goals. Don’t use orders.
5 – Don’t manage individuals. Lead the team.
- Myth: I must build relationships with individual members of the team.
- Reality: Attention given to one subordinate often negatively affects the performance of other subordinates.
- Tip: Focus on your team’s overall performance. Treat individuals equitably.
6 – Don’t keep the status quo. Challenge it.
- Myth: My job is to ensure the operation is running smoothly.
- Reality: You are required to improve the work conditions of your subordinates to free their energy. You are even required to act outside your responsibilities.
- Tip: Initiate changes to enhance the group’s performance. This is tricky since you can always make changes and have the illusion that you are making improvements.
Hill, Linda A. “Becoming the boss.” Harvard business review 85.1 (2007): 48.