As many of you know, I have been an administrator and manager in four reputable organisations in the past seventeen years. In one of the organisations, I was promoted from an employee to be a manager.
I'd like to take a moment to share with you the myriad of experiences, lessons, and insights I gathered along the way as I made this transition over a decade ago, and I hope that it helps you as you make your transition, too.
Understanding the Shift
The first step on my journey was realising that becoming a manager is not just about getting a promotion; it's about a significant shift in mindset. As an employee, I was great at getting things done, but as a manager, I quickly learned that it wasn't just about my work anymore. It was about guiding, coaching, and empowering my team to do their best work. It was about seeing the big picture, making strategic decisions, and navigating the team towards our shared goals.
Developing New Skills
Once I embraced this change, I focused on developing a whole new set of skills. Communication, for instance, took on a new meaning. It was no longer just about conveying my thoughts; it became about listening, understanding, and addressing the concerns of my team. I found that effective communication helped to prevent misunderstandings, build trust, and promote a more collaborative and inclusive environment.
Leadership was another critical skill I needed to hone. I realised that a good leader is not someone who merely instructs others but someone who inspires and motivates them. This often meant leading by example, demonstrating the values I wanted my team to embody, and fostering an environment where every member felt valued and heard.
Embracing New Responsibilities
Along with new skills, came new responsibilities. I was not just responsible for my own work but for my team's performance. Setting clear goals, monitoring progress, providing constructive feedback, and stepping in to help when necessary became a part of my daily routine.
I found that mentoring was a particularly rewarding aspect of my new role. Supporting my team members in their personal and professional growth, and seeing them thrive was a wonderful feeling.
Balancing Authority and Trust
Perhaps one of the most delicate aspects of my journey was finding the balance between authority and trust. I understood the importance of establishing my authority, but I also knew that this should not come at the expense of trust.
Building trust, I found, required consistency, honesty, and respect. It involved showing up for my team, standing by them in challenging situations, and acknowledging their efforts and achievements.
On the other hand, asserting my authority did not mean micromanaging but setting clear expectations, holding the team accountable, and ensuring everyone remained focused and aligned with our goals.
The Road Ahead
My transition from an employee to a manager was an exciting journey. Sure, there were bumps along the way, and I made my fair share of mistakes, but each one provided a learning opportunity.
If you're about to embark on a similar journey, remember that it's okay to feel overwhelmed. Be patient with yourself, be open to learning, and most importantly, be adaptable. You are not just becoming a manager; you're evolving as a leader.
And on that note, I encourage you all to see each day as a new opportunity for growth. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and never stop learning. As for me, while I now coach and mentor tohers, I also keep learning.
If you would like to be coached as a manger, please schedule a session with me here: www.calendly.com/nancyekpezu.