Get your own team

Your company likes to promote from within. One day you come in to find that management has recognized all the leadership you’ve been providing and has promoted you to your first position as a team manager.

Congratulations!(?)

Sure, it’s a promotion and it might come with some salary changes and some additional perqs. And yet there are some downsides, too.1 One of these downsides can be finding out you’re no longer a member of the team! Yes, you’re no longer a member of the team.

It’s not uncommon for newer managers to want to remain, to try to remain part of the team. We’re used to teams; it’s how corporate America likes to do things these days. And why not? Teams can be very fulfilling and quite effective.

But you’re not on the team anymore. And finding this out can be a shock to a new manager.

Jeffrey Aside

Please note that I’m not suggesting that there’s something high and mighty about management. But there is something different. It’s a different role and the attitudes of your staff will change in response to this role.

After all, you’re now responsible for their performance reviews, raises, project assignments, etc. And you’re probably easing off your projects and getting out of doing the details of what your team is assigned to accomplish.

It’s a different role.

There are two parts that you’ll miss after you figure out this one.

The social aspect

This includes the issues of feeling excluded at lunch and coffee breaks, changes to your after-work schedule and general feelings of “not belonging” anymore. You might be so busy that it could take some time to notice some of this.

The work aspect

With the new role comes new types of work, a different workload and the need for different skills. But your traditional support mechanism (the team) is more distant than usual.

A fix

Get your own team. Build it, if you have to, but go be a member of your own team. It will help with that sense of belonging and, if you choose the right team, will give you a place to talk about the new role, the workload and gain some of the required skills.

I suggest two places to find the team, the first being your peers under your common manager. Meet once a week for coffee or lunch, ask for coaching, take turns to volunteer for division-level assignments, develop consistent methods of completing similar tasks, propose ways to collaborate on collective processes and share the load on common reporting requirements. There are probably dozens of ways to leverage this type of team.

Creating and then being an active part of this management team is also a valuable tool in managing upward. If all your manager’s direct reports are working together, it’s a whole lot easier to manage your manager.

Another place to find a team is peers in other parts of your organizations. A wider-scope team like this can be useful in learning different ways of doing things, developing allies in wider issues and helping in Removing Roadblocks.

Give it a try. Congratulations on your new role. Now go get your own team.

  1. Perhaps you’re technical and this isn’t part of your planned career path.
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