One year ago I stepped into my first ever management and official leadership role. In that time I’ve learned a lot about how to work with people that I had never considered before. Because of that I wanted to share some thoughts on what I’ve learned, and what I’d encourage others to do if they want to make the step into management.
Management isn’t for everyone
Just because management is offered to you, does not mean that’s right for you. When I first started this role I absolutely suffered with Imposter Syndrome, I felt like I was well placed as a technical lead, but not necessarily a line manager who had to set targets for someone.
I managed to reach a place of happiness for myself, but I know (and have worked with) others who are amazing programmers, but they just did not enjoy or want to be a line manager. There’s no shame in this, always do what’s right for you, even if it means taking a different step to what’s put in front of you.
Not Everything Is Going To Be Rosey
Being a manager means being able to see people grow and achieve goals, and that’s an amazing feeling. It also means having to support members of your team through some tough situations.
These could be stress related, something going on at home, illness that’s not been disclosed, handling disciplinary procedures within the company, or any other manner of situation that someone could find themselves in.
It’s important to be considerate in these situations, and take every fact put in front of you to use when making a decision, these decisions could have an impact on someone’s career, or even their want to stay working with you and your company.
Have A Sounding Board
This one may seem simple, but don’t try and do everything on your own. Your friends, mentors, colleagues, your own manager are there to support you and help out. If you’re unsure of something, ask them, they’ll give you honest advice and sometimes even solutions to problems you didn’t know existed.
I’ve been lucky enough to have former colleagues and mentors available whenever I need advice on something, whether it’s technical or a proper manager type situation. Be sure to have someone you can talk to when you’re just unsure.
Trust Your Gut
One of the key things as a manager I’ve found is a need to just believe that I’ve made the right call at the time. That doesn’t mean you can’t change your thoughts going forward, but trust your instinct.
At the end of the day someone has put trust in you to be a team lead/manager, they trust your instinct, don’t repay that by never making a decision
And while it’s important to trust your gut, it’s also important to reflect on decisions you’ve made and potentially make new decisions based on the new evidence.
None of us are ever going to get everything in life right, accept that you’ll make mistakes and try to minimise them and you’ll be much happier in your role.
I know most of these don’t only apply to being a manager, but they’re definitely things I’ve been much more aware of in my year as a line manager.
If anyone wants to discuss any of the points I’ve made further, feel free to hit me up on Twitter