From the outside looking in, leading and managing can seem really easy. How many times have you heard people who are not leading or managing anyone talk about how they could do a much better job? Probably quite a few if you have been around in organisations for some time. The reality is that when it is done well, leading and managing others can appear easy. On the other hand what are 5 truths you need to keep at the forefront of your mind?
Truth 1: It is a lonely existence
When your role involves delivering results with fewer and fewer resources and lots of people with differing agendas, leading and managing can sometimes be quite a lonely existence. After all there are always people senior to you with expectations as well as those that you lead or manage. It can sometimes feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to. This is why it is vital to build up some sort of support network.
Truth 2: Every choice will be unpopular with someone
People know on some level that you need to weigh up the options in each situation and take on balance what seems like the best decision from the choices available. Despite this they will still react with some form of resistance in some cases when things do not go their way. To address this cut yourself some slack and recognise you cannot please everyone all of the time.
Truth 3: People have short memories
You might have been the model boss for the last two years but you go through a sticky patch when you are struggling to get folks on board and move things forward. Superiors in particular often have short memories so make sure that when your performance is being reviewed a balanced picture is presented.
Truth 4: You will mess it up at times
Every single one of us makes mistakes from time. Few of these are terminal and it is important not to let mistakes stop you from taking balanced risks in the knowledge that you will sometimes get it wrong. Clean up the mess, reflect and learn and then move on. You cannot change the past but you can influence the future.
Truth 5: You are leading and managing for a reason
You were promoted into a leadership and management role because people believed that you had something to offer, not because they wanted to be nice to you and do you a favour. When self doubt appears remind yourself of all the brilliant things you do and focus on looking for ways to do even better.
Leading and managing is challenging but don’t let temporary setbacks get in the way of your long term success.
By Joseph Coffey