Promoted into oblivion
See if this sounds familiar to you. At work you got promoted time and again because you are taking on risky jobs, getting more work done than anyone else, taking charge when no one else will do it besides you. Eventually management “rewards” you by promoting you and before you know it you have become the manager of a department and now you are in charge of people.
Problem is though that you loved doing the things you used to do and now you do must spend the majority of time managing and leading people. Tasks like hiring, firing, workforce reductions, disciplining, rewarding, meetings (and there are many), financial and strategic planning can be daunting and draining you of all energy. You need not be born to lead and this can be learned, but was this what you wanted?
You may have been hired straight into oblivion, and sometimes worse, you may not perform to a level what management expected off of you. Bad performance reviews can now lead to your own performance improvement plan. In all this can turn out badly as your morale and attitude can totally tank.
Of course there is a way out of this mess. Foremost, you need to make a decision about whether or not you love being a manager. In case that is not your cup of tea make the decision to get out. There is no other way to approach that one. Turning a weakness into a strength is all but impossible in the long run. You can fake it until you make it for a while, but when push comes to shove you will be missing the energy it takes to put up with it.
In case you decide that you like serving people, being their quarterback than there are a few steps that you can take to improve your leadership skills.
Most basic step is self-reflection. Are you in it for yourself, or are you in this position to help others? Pick the latter, because the former may get you a spot on the Jerk website. Seriously, leading/ managing is serving others with empathy, tact, and being the promoter of the people entrusted to you. Take a look through their eyes – how they would view you.
Ask your manager(s) if the company has a program, or could be thinking about starting a program of seasoned leaders in the organization providing coaching sessions for you. This is extremely effective because you get to know corporate cultural elements. Typically people who coach take this very serious and they tend to know a lot about the topics that they teach.
Read, read and read. Read like a fool. Pick up and read through managerial books like there is no tomorrow. I can recommend the works of John Maxwell, Jim Collins and many more. Point is that the more books you read about the topic, the more you will start realizing the patterns that exist around leadership and managing people. Compare and contrast where you feel you stand now and plan out where you want to be in 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. You will all but automatically get better at this.
Another great exercise is to think about your worst boss and bad management that you have encountered. Now turn these attributes around and think about ways how to turn them into something positive. You now have a recipe how to become a manager that will not offend, micromanage, or otherwise be a bad leader-manager.
Look for local college classes about philosophy, financial management, etc. Liberal Arts under- and graduate degrees like Organizational Dynamics, or Human Performance Management may just be what you need. Consider pursuing a degree, or simply take a few classes. Make use of any tuition reimbursement programs if they are offered to you.
Success or failure are your choices when you get promoted into leadership and management roles because you have been a great worker bee (Tweet this). Do not choose lightly and get out of this quagmire if it drains you of energy – typically it does not get better with time. In the event you want to stay the course than go out and make it count and be the best that you can be.