Letter to Myself 1 - First time Manager
Updated: Apr 1, 2018
You expected this new role to bring a tremendous amount of responsibility and make or break decisions. Surprise, it is not like that. You are going to grow into this.
Instead of more freedom, expect more constraints and more stakeholders to please.
Your instinct is correct: don't give orders but rather encourage and gain commitment.
Forget about leading and following - it is fluid, everyone does both and you want to be a great leader and a great follower.
You do not have to know everything. You were promoted into this position because you can figure it out. You will make mistakes and that's okay. Mistakes make great stories just as successes do. Embrace and learn from both.
From this point on, ask questions more often than give responses. Listen more and speak less.
Delegating is hard. You spend countless hours training and transferring your models thinking that you could have completed that required update in one tenth of the time. Think long term and remember, your new job is not to complete everything on your own but rather to help others, your team members learn to do it. Train and help to grow. Now, it is about something bigger than you: others.
There will be tough situations you don't anticipate now: complaints against your reports, performance issues, conflicts, personal issues of other people that you need to deal with (occasionally crying too). Inconveniences? Hardly. Stay calm under every circumstances so you can stay in control. Don't distance yourself - this is what leaders do. All the time.
Slow down and be a leader that you would want to have.
Your future self
Now it's your turn. Take a notepad and a pen. What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back 3, 5 or 10 years in time?
When you are ready, read it carefully and pay attention to the tone and analyze your mindset. Are you your best friend or your own enemy? Do you regret your mistakes or do you embrace them?