Scar from the Lion King could not be more prophetic. If you want to be successful in life, you need to make sure you are prepared. However, even he did not follow his own advice and underestimated the ease of leading a team.
As a new leader, you need to learn the balance between being prepared versus being obsessive. This is particularly hard if you are promoted through the ranks. You know everyone’s roles and responsibilities as well as their work habits since you were “one of them”. You assume that you need to know every part of everyone’s job, know your competition, your clients, and your potential clients, know what your colleagues’ jobs, etc.
But in reality, you only need to know how to access all of that information. As a brand manager, I had to know every item number in the company in order to talk with manufacturing, shipping, purchasing, etc. It was part of the expectation. However, when I transitioned into a management role, my knowledge base needed to change. I needed to know more about overriding goals, how marketing fit into the scheme of making the company go, how to better support my team, and other “more pressing” issues. Suddenly knowing every component of every item did not seem as important.
As you grow into your role, you will find that knowing who the depositories of information are and how to access their knowledge is more important than memorizing information. You will learn how to disseminate this information and then turn it into actionable forms for your team to use. You will empower your team to know everything they need to know about their job and that you will trust that what they are telling you is complete and correct.
Then, once you do all of those things, will you truly be prepared to do battle. You will also realize how much better you are at your job, how much more in sync your team has become and how your internal reputation has grown.