Do you remember the first time you were assigned to be a supervisor or manager? How steep was your learning curve? What was harder for you…managing your team or managing your boss? Did you come to the leadership role naturally? Or, was it a struggle to feel like it was a fit and you secretly longed for you “old job” where things were easier? Over the years, I’ve heard managers pronounce after learning a new skill…”I wish I knew that when I first became a manager!”
As a manager, what do you wish you had known and learned first of all? Do you wish you had known more about people or tasks? More often than not I hear people wishing they had more skills in building their team, delegating responsibilities, managing meetings, and navigating challenging conversations. Many managers learn management skills by trial and error. Others learn by watching their own managers. Some read about management.
How did you learn to be a supervisor or manager?
A quick scan reveals that many people have written on this topic. From a Forbes article on 6 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Managing People. Or Meghan Keaney Anderson’s article where her number one thing she wish she knew was “don’t aim to be liked, aim to be transformational”. There is a wish list article for all types of managers.
I wish someone had told me to notice and appreciate my own talents; to be authentic. In a nutshell, be myself and trust my instincts. There are many books, articles and blogs written by managers who found their key to successful leadership. I’m grateful they found the “keys to success” but my sense is that they found the keys to unlocking their strengths, not mine. Their keys may not unlock my potential because our strengths are more than likely not the same. In fact, the odds of having the same top five strengths in two individuals is 1 in 33 million.
Perhaps the keys to supporting new managers is taking time to notice, celebrate and leverage their strengths. Once new managers learn to recognize their talents, they can apply those strengths to facilitation, meeting management, difficult conversations and delegation. As mentors, we can help new managers learn how to leverage their talents, not copy ours. Let’s support the next generation of managers by activating their strengths and accelerating their success.