Congratulations on Your Promotion to Manager.
My first day as a new manager was a Monday in 1993.
I was working with six people on a software quality assurance team.
And when our old manager moved on to another company, I was asked to step into the role.
I spent all weekend thinking about it — the message I wanted to convey, exactly what I would say, how I would say it.
I showed up on my first day, gathered my team, my friends really — I knew their families, we went out together — and told them how I would be as a new manager.
What I would do. What I expected from them. What they should expect from me.
What I remember most clearly (and painfully) is them looking at me like I was an alien.
Like I had gone over to the dark side.
When you become a manager, work is no longer about you.
It’s 100% about your team.
And here I was, on day one, making it all about me.
My intentions were good, but I was showing a total lack of humility and perspective.
I was telling instead of showing.
And when you’re leading people, your actions are exponentially louder than your words.
It went…not well…for many months.
Becoming a first time manager is a rough transition for most of us.
Hopefully I can save you some pain by sharing some of the most common pitfalls.
When you’re new to management, it’s tempting to try to emulate someone in senior management at your company to try to “act like a manager.”
One of the most painful manifestations of this is when the hot new management book comes out.
New managers read it and come in and start applying the techniques.
The techniques aren’t bad, but people know when techniques are being applied on them and, not surprisingly, they don’t like it.