Leadership 101: Lesson 2 – Understand Your Job Expectations
Congratulations. You’ve been promoted to Manager. Do you even know what in the world that means?
As noted in Leadership 101: Lesson 1, people often get promoted to leadership roles, like Manager, because they are good at the technical aspects of their job, which are quite different from the responsibilities of a manager. For example, analyzing financial statements requires very different skills than those required for effective management. Being a manager requires focus on others, which requires a different basket of skills and responsibilities.
How often do job descriptions make clear that as a manager you’ll need to:
— deal with people issues you could have never imagined;
— advocate for those who report to you;
— communicate difficult news;
— prioritize hard people issues over a pile of work that was due yesterday; or
— advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion?
In my experience, this clarity is rare.
It is difficult to capture the opportunities and challenges of leadership and management. Simply being aware that you’ll be required to deal with things that you never have before is a good start. You’ll need to learn new skills and brush up on old ones. You’ll need to understand the difference between a job description and job expectations. They are not always synonymous.
Lesson 2: Understand your job expectations. When you’re going headfirst into a new role, understand the expectations that people you will be working with from all sides have of you. Take the time to self-reflect on the following to put yourself on the path to being an effective leader.
— Define what kind of leader you want to be, and how you can realize the goals that you set for yourself
— If you have a new boss, understand what he/she expects;
— Finding yourself fortunate enough to lead others, take the time to understand what they expect of you.
— Find a mentor that you can go to who will be completely honest with you and help you grow.
— Talk to people who are in a similar role and ask them what they wished they knew when they were in your shoes.
— Understand the resources that are available to you as a manager. The ability to learn as quickly as possible will help you grow into your new role and responsibilities.
Becoming a competent, respected leader is an ongoing process. Embrace it!