The 7 Common (And Totally Avoidable) Mistakes New Managers Make by Laura Vanderkam at Fast Company on 2 September 2014.

This quick-read article highlights 7 areas where people can have troubles switching from employees to managers.  VOCL readers / listeners know that I tend to differentiate between leadership (people) and management (things), but I’ll cut the author some slack on the nomenclature.  The seven areas are:

  1. Keeping the star mindset (you need to focus on leading people instead of doing your last job)
  2. Doing other people’s work for them (don’t micromanage)
  3. Not getting to know people (when starting out, how can you effectively lead someone you don’t know?)
  4. Calling attention to insecurities (don’t belittle your own abilities)
  5. Burning the barns (help people buy into your vision)
  6. Not aiming for early wins (people love someone who can show success AKA the ‘everyone loves a winner’ concept)
  7. Not taking time to focus (you need to start thinking ahead)

Probably the hardest mistake for people to overcome is #1 – it’s generally easier to do a job in which you were excelling rather than working on a new skill area.  As a new leader, you must remember that you were given the promotion so you could lead others in accomplishing the organizational goals.

For those looking at promoting people to leadership positions – a word of warning.  Just because ‘Paul’ is an excellent widget maker does not mean that he will be able to lead others in the making of widgets.  Your hope is that he may create a bunch of ‘Pauls’, but if does not want to be a leader, or has not yet developed leadership skills, or you don’t have the time to properly mentor ‘Paul’, you are potentially inviting failure in four ways:

  1. You have taken Paul away from where he is productive and have made him less productive.
  2. You may create an ineffective or inefficient atmosphere (at best) or ‘poisonous’ atmosphere (worst case) for your employees or organization if Paul does not know how to effectively lead others.
  3. You will create more work for yourself in the long run – you will need to solve the problem, plus you will still need to find/make an effective leader.
  4. You will likely have many unhappy people – ‘Paul,’ the very person that you are trying to reward, may very well be one of them.

P.S. If you do promote Paul, MAKE THE TIME to mentor him.

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