Are You a Know It All or a Do It All?

As a new manager, you struggle with how to act.  You want to show competence and confidence, but at the same time, many of the things you are exposed to are different, more complex and confusing.  You typically choose one of the above ways to handle this new uncertainty- and both are dangerous to your career, reputation and team’s performance.

The Know It All wants everyone to know they are in control.  If you have a question, I have the answer.  That may be great if you are a world renowned expert in your field, but for the rest of us, that approach does not work.  Your team will find you standoffish, unapproachable, arrogant, and as a Me First leader.  They will find ways to avoid asking you questions, feeling the manner you deliver your advice is belittling to them.  You will miss important opportunities to learn from your team, your colleagues and your managers because you will give off the impression that you already know the best way.  Your fast track may stall due to your aurora of perceived greatness.

The Do It All has not learned the power of delegation.  You were promoted because of your professional proficiency, you know your job and your former co-workers’ jobs inside and out.  It is much faster to just do it yourself.  However, the dangers here are just as great as the Know It All.  Your team will begin do two things:  believe that you do not trust them and give you all of their work.   Your colleagues and managers will look at you as a typical burnout candidate- trying to do the job of your team and your job which cannot possibly be done well.  Without understanding that a team can achieve more than an individual, you are destined to post mediocre results and having your career stalled.

But you do not need to only have these two extreme positions as a new manager.  You can take a more balanced approach to managing.  You can offer a fresh take on things, while also learning the nuances of being a “boss”, the business, and the company.  You can teach your team how to do specific tasks without being an enabler.

How?  That part is easy, be yourself.  You received a merit based promotion.  You did not walk into your previous position as an expert.  You worked hard, asked questions, sought out advice, and eventually mastered your position.  Being a good leader takes those traits to the next level.  Becoming a great leader takes time, experience, and patience, all things your company will have with you if you start out just being yourself.

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