Most managers I’ve talked to describe their transition into management this way: “I got promoted, and nobody told me anything about what I was supposed to do or how I was supposed to do it. They just gave me a team and wished me luck.” The feeling we have that others know what they’re doing, but we don’t, is wrong. Almost everyone else doesn’t know either.
Even if we develop the skills, transitioning from managing only yourself to managing others requires a shift in values. We need to learn how to value different work and dedicate our time to other activities. The fact that shame and impostor syndrome drives us to waste time trying to prove we deserve that promotion makes it even harder to get help. New managers have it hard, but they’re not the only ones. Experienced managers also start getting visibility in the company, receiving more responsibilities. Usually, at some point, you’re asked to manage multiple teams and projects, and life gets that much harder.
Not having transitioned successfully into the role and being swamped with responsibilities are two of the many situations that stress-test a manager and sometimes make them fail. No one is above this. We can’t be on the top of our game all the time. So knowing early signs of a failing manager allows us to act swiftly, adjust course and prevent any significant damage. These are the ones that help me: