Tom is a young professional who has great aspirations for his life and career. He entered his current company a few years ago. He likes his job and the company.
Tom’s attitude towards work did not go unnoticed. So far he has had 3 promotions — but all at a specialist level.
Today is different.
Tom’s manager called him very early in the day. They have had a very close relationship so this event was not that uncommon. Tom walks in and immediately senses the suspension in the room. In the corner is his boss’s boss. WOW.
Tom’s mind begins to rush — “..what did I do wrong…” “…am I being fired…”.
Tom’s boss: I am leaving the company. It’s for personal reasons. Since you are by far the best team member, I have recommended you as my replacement. Should you accept the position, you will begin immediately. We have worked in the past and I know you will do well.
Tom’s heart is rushing. He had always dreamed of becoming manager. Now he’ll have even greater responsibility, his own team and own budget — and he’ll call the shots.
Without hesitation, he accepts the position. The manager sends a company-wide statement informing of the changes. Tom walks out of the office as a manager. At least on paper.
The difference between a management and a specialist position
A specialist is a person who works on completing specific tasks that needs a specific set of skills. They rarely exist as individual entities at any company. Couple of specialists come together to form a team — each contributing what they know best.
At the head of the team is the manager. The manager might have before been a specialist, although this is not a rule. It is his job to plan, organize, motivate and control team operations. It is his responsibility to make the team reach the goals with the available resources.
No company in the World can operate without these two positions. Look back in your careers — all your colleagues fall in these two positions.
Wow. This explanation was way too easy.
The transfer from specialist to manager
Ambitious people strive to be in Tom’s position. And we can say for sure that most will be. Yet not everyone will be able to maintain the results they had as a specialist.
Because the moment you make the transfer, job priorities change
You are no longer an individual
A manager should forget his personal needs. His only focus is the needs of the team. It is his sole purpose to provide support to all the specialist while they are completing their task. It is his job to plan resources and deadlines. To set clear goals and communicate them. At the end, it is the manager’s job to track the situation and take corrective measures if needed.
You have a greater responsibility
Before, Tom was only responsible for his tasks. When we faced an obstacle, he would ask his manager for help. He would also take all the rewards for the job well done.
Now imagine being responsible for the responsibility of each of your team members. The bigger the team, the bigger the burden.
A manager is only as good as the team he manages
That is right — a manager cannot complete all the tasks alone. He is human after all.
To delegate and motivate is his most important job. This is the only way the team members will tap into new skill sets.
You will rarely do any ACTUAL WORK
When I say actual, I mean sitting down to complete a specific task that will have a measurable result.
A manager rarely does such tasks (except for planning and reporting). His daily operations include a lot of interaction with the team — constantly monitoring and communicating, ensuring a smooth flow of task completion and efficient use of resources.
You will become a psychologist
People make teams. People are complex creatures. People are also unique. You cannot manage them the same way.
A manager needs to posses the skills to first of all understand his team members, their needs and motivations. Only then can he plan and delegate tasks.
Bringing it together
Making the leap is not easy. It will be the biggest challenge if your career. Especially ambitions people are going to face this challenge relatively early in their career. This in turn will present very specific obstacles.