1) You do work that your employees should be doing because “It’s easier to do it myself than hand it off"?
2) You work long hours, getting in early and staying late
3) Your team lacks morale, or seems stressed out most of the time, or both!
You may be suffering from the craftsman-to-manager paradox. Here’s how it works:
If you are a craftsman, you were probably promoted because you are highly productive. Most likely you are productive for a few reasons:
- You manage your time effectively
- You require minimal supervision
- You are reliable
- You take pride in a job well done
Here’s the paradox: You meet the above criteria because you are a self-reliant perfectionist: your philosophy might be summarized as “Do it right the first time” and “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”
As you move into management, the very things that made you effective as a craftsman are now deadly threats to your success as a manager. Your independence and self-reliance, which was an asset, is now a liability.
As a manager you need to change your focus, from being productive to making other people productive, which requires a wholly new set of skills. You were promoted because of your skills, and now you need to stop using them and start transferring them to others.
And that’s the paradox: To be successful in your new role, you must turn your entire philosophy inside-out. You need to stop doing things and start managing things, which is counter-intuitive and takes a leap of faith. That’s right, a leap of faith.
Sounds like religion? You bet. It sounds like religion because it is religion. Here are the ten communication commandments for managers:
- Make your expectations crystal clear. Leave no room for interpretation. WHO will do WHAT by WHEN?
- Listen actively. What is the person saying? What is their tone of voice saying? What is their body language saying? Pay attention.
- Be observant and proactive. Watch what’s going on around you. MBWA (Manage by walking around). Learn to anticipate problems and address them before they are problems.
- Master the art of asking. Good questions help you diagnose root causes and understand underlying dynamics, so you can solve the problem instead of trying to fix a symptom.
- Teach. Every mistake is a learning opportunity. In fact, nearly every interaction you have with your team is a learning opportunity
- Delegate. Anything you do yourself is a wasted opportunity for someone on your team to learn something. Stay close to help if necessary, but only if they ask for it.
- Coach. Spend quality time with your high performers, making them better. It’s easy to forget this one and waste lots of time on the underperformers.
- Don’t avoid difficult conversations. As a manager it’s your job to initiate them when necessary. And never have difficult conversations by email; always do them face to face if possible, by phone if necessary.
- Learn how to be tough. If you’re going to set expectations, there need to be consequences if they are not met. Face it: If you’re going to be a manager you will have to fire someone sooner or later. It’s a true communication challenge and the toughest part of being a manager. When the time comes, just do it.
- Develop your farm teams. You’ll need a stable of people on deck, ready to come on board should you need them. Ongoing and proactive communication is key. Keep them warm.
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