Last week you achieved stuff through your own efforts. You were an individual employee: an engineer, an architect or a nurse.
But now it’s all changed.
Your identity has changed. Now you’re associated with a group of people. Now you fail if they don’t perform.
Now you think about the big picture rather than just your own little world. Now your focus is outcomes, not activities.
Now you’ve taken on a totally new persona.
Now you are a manager!
Becoming a manager
Managers become managers in different ways. In a big firm you may have just stayed the course. Dead man’s shoes, so to speak; and you boss just left so you’re next in line. Or you may have been identified as ‘talent’ and be part of a talent management programme. The succession machine selected you next. In small and medium sized firms, the situation will have been very different. If you’re senior management, you likely grew up with the firm. You may have shares. Or you were recruited to the post and are busy buying a stake. In either case, it’s unlikely that you’ve been trained for your new job.
Skills of a manager
Managers must be skilled in planning, motivating, coordinating, supervising and in making decisions. Some must behave in an administrative fashion, maybe striving to manage through implementation of process for their staff to follow. Others must be charismatic, leading the charge from the front, setting example for others. But most of all, managers must learn delegation. Your success no longer comes from your brilliance but from the applied brilliance of those for whom you are responsible. To delegate takes extreme bravery and trust – yet more new competencies to be learned. Like most things in change, the important thing is that you identify that change is needed; that you need to train to do your new job. After all, you’d be pretty annoyed if you learned that the staff you’re now responsible for were not trained for the job they do. You’d instantly demand they went back to school.
Now you are a manager
To conclude, here are some scary facts:
- Only one in five managers are qualified as managers.
- 43% of UK managers rate their own manager as ineffective.
- 56% of company failures are caused by bad management.
If you don’t become a competent manager you will not be effective in running your bit of the firm. So if this blog hit a raw nerve, you know what to do next.
 Leadership & Management in the UK – The Key to Sustainable Growth, a summary of the evidence for the value of investing in leadership and management development, Department for Business Innovation & Skills, July 2012, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/32327/12-923-leadership-management-key-to-sustainable-growth-evidence.pdf accessed on 11th November 2014.