When I think back on some of the mistakes I’ve made, I’m surprised I even survived my career as a manager. That role is full of potholes, and I feel like I’ve stepped in most of them.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”6YvGa” via=”yes” ]Have you learned Management Lesson Number One yet?[/ctt]
I admit, I’m still making mistakes. I made one last week, and I’m sure I’ll make one next week. But I continue to learn from them, every day. And that will ultimately make me a better manager. In fact, many people believe that when you make a mistake and recover from it, you often become better at your job than if you’d never made the mistake in the first place. That’s certainly true for me. We get better when we make a mistake and fix it, because of the learning that comes from the experience.
In my role as a trainer, I’m aware that my mistakes can help not only myself, but others as well. I can help other people to not make the same mistakes I did.
Although everyone is different, and management roles vary widely, there are a number of mistakes that seem to trip up just about every manager at some point. They’re potholes in the roadway and they can cause a lot of dysfunction in the workplace. Fortunately, they’re avoidable.
These mistakes are particularly commonplace if you’re a new manager or supervisor. For instance, if you’ve been promoted into a management role from your administrative support role. Perhaps you’ve become the Office Manager or the Admin Coordinator; many of the people you used to work with are now either reporting to you or are on a different corporate level from your role. And that means the rules governing how you behave and interact with your colleagues, are now different for you. They changed the moment you accepted your new role.
The first pothole to watch out for is: becoming one of the team.
When I became a new manager, I was young, eager, and excited, because my promotion meant more money and more responsibility. I saw it as the first step on the fast track to success.
What I didn’t realize was that my new role was in some ways light years from my old role as an admin. I had to make some big changes; because suddenly I wasn’t exactly “one of the team” anymore.
But I was determined to not lose my place in my group of peers. I still had lunch with them daily, I still shared my personal life issues, and I still complained about the boss.
When you step into a management role, you have to realize that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t be “one of the gang” the same way you used to be.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”59Kg5″ via=”yes” ]When you step into a management role, you have to realize that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.[/ctt]
It didn’t mean I couldn’t have friends at work. But it did mean that I needed to create some boundaries. I could no longer join in when people were complaining about the boss, or venting. Those days were gone for me.
Instead, I needed to treat everyone in my firm—and that included the bosses—with professional respect. I made an agreement with my old work colleagues that, even outside the office, we wouldn’t talk about work issues. Those boundaries were very important, and very helpful.
That was the first lesson I learned as a new manager. What have you learned?