There’s never a good time to become a manager. Just like there’s never a good time to…have kids? (No personal experience here, but I assume. Seems like work.) Get a perm maybe? I have yet to find a good time to wear pleather leggings. Leggings as pants, yes. Dress for comfort forever. PLEATHER LEGGINGS? Why are you ruining a good thing?
According to society, not unlike other rights of passage, there appears to be a list of things you check off and then magically you are ready for this. Tenure, “experience”, new pants…that’s about it. Then you are ready!
I didn’t ever have the desire to be a manager. My reaction was always:
But I guess this is what happens when you’ve been at a place long enough and YOU don’t want to do the things you’re doing anymore. So…here we are! I’m in charge of two other humans. So much so that I haven’t made time to hire the third.
WOE IS ME, I know. I KNOW. Shut up you.
In this crazed world where I paid for an education that has tricked people into thinking I know things, I find myself in all too familiar territory. I do not know what I’m doing.
Is this what parenting feels like?? Good gravy. I cannot have kids. How are you people doing it? The offspring! I literally cannot keep fish alive. You are all heroes.
All of the criticisms I had for previous managers, especially the things I said to their faces, are inducing queasy reflection. I must have been a nightmare of an employee. My unquenchable thirst for information in combination with being utterly transparent with their perceived shortcomings, must have made me one really annoying subordinate.
As I marched into the role of ruler of my tiny army; I vowed to do things differently. Make the time. Listen to the words. Make shit happen, dammit!
On a daily basis work is difficult for heaps of reasons. But then all the sudden these other people are coming to me with their struggles as if I have the keys to the solution kingdom.
But I committed to being different! I’m doing the things! I made all this time! What do you want from me??
That’s the whole problem. It’s not about me.
It’s not enough to make the time – be present.
It’s not enough to listen – what are they saying? What are you doing with that information?
It’s not enough to make things happen – if it’s not the things they care about.
So I still don’t know what I’m doing. But what I can offer is what I’m learning:
- Time inherently has value. But if you’re borrowing it from someone else, you need to add value to it.
- People are humans. That may be obvious but at work I think we forget that people have lives and cognitive thinking that happens that isn’t work related.
- Connections build trust. I think it’s difficult to assist when you don’t have all the information, and the information isn’t volunteered if you aren’t trusted.
What advice do you have to offer for managing teams or people?