Taking A Little Break From Managing

Due to recent reorganizations at work, I have been asked to fill-in on a role that is an individual contributor role. I get to take a break from managing people. Well, on paper that is… I think I went through the normal reactions that people have to changing positions that they did not ask for (disappointment, anger, fear and excitement). Now that I have been in the role for a few weeks, I can safely say that I am still managing people but in a different way. I don’t have direct supervision of the people I interface with. That seems to me to be the only true change.

Within this new role, I have had to:

  • Set expectations – of the people interfacing with, those that help to provide, management team and myself.  Just like building the house, the foundation is a very important beginning!
  • Set goals and time-lines– With this project it is temporary in nature – so setting goals and time-lines is going to be very critical for success. How would you know that you have met your expectations? Breaking a temporary assignment into chucks helps to make sure that your end goal happens on time. Far to often, people short projects get out of hand, due to lack of smaller goals.
  • Listen, listen and listen some more – With any role that is relationship in nature.  Most people can hear, but few truly listen. Getting to the real information may not be the words that are spoken. It comes with the total package (words, tune, expression and deep understanding).
  • Influence (Coaching) – Since no one really “works” for me, directing folks is not going to work. I have spent much of my career trying not to direct but coach folks to make their own decisions. Within this new role, I will have to really test out all that I have been doing for quite sometime.
  • Making it Fun – No matter what you do, you must have some fun. Work can and should be fun. We spend more than enough time there…

So, what really has changed? Not much. Everything that I have learned, taught or experienced, I still get to do.