I had three realisations yesterday that I’d like to share with you now.
During a conversation with my coach (Yes I have a coach, everyone should have a coach) while discussing my career and the many paths it has taken it suddenly struck me that I started managing my first team 26 years ago. Realisation number 1 ‘I’m really that old!’
Realisation number 2, ‘I’ve accumulated an awful lot of skills, knowledge and experience over those intervening years’, came as we went on to talk about the different jobs and roles I’ve had, where my successes have been and what I’ve most enjoyed doing during those 26 years.
It was during this conversation that my coach told me that if she had to sum me up it would be as the ‘Team Whisperer’ and that maybe I should be focusing my efforts on helping new Managers and Team Leaders to understand how they can build their own awesome teams.
Being a new manager isn’t easy, I still remember the first morning after my promotion I walked into the office where the day before my new team; had been my friends, my colleagues, my peers. Now they looked at me differently. It was as if they expected something miraculous to have happened overnight, that my fairy godmother dropped by my window at midnight and sprinkled magical team-leadery-managerial fairy dust all over me. They thought that I must have changed in some way.
Of course, I hadn’t changed, the only thing that had changed was my job title. I was totally and woefully unprepared for the experience. I distinctly recall my team looking at me and me looking back at them thinking “What now?”
Like many new managers I learned on the job . It was slow, it was often painful for both me and the team and it took a long time.
But what if it had been different?
- What if I’d had the training and support I needed, when I needed it?
- What if that training had been founded in real life experiences?
- What if it had addressed the real issues and problems that every new manager faces?
- Wouldn’t I have gotten up to speed more quickly?
- Wouldn’t my team and I have been more effective from the get go?
- Wouldn’t we all have been happier and less stressed?
What would have happened?
- If we were all happier and more effective at our jobs wouldn’t we have provided better services for our customers much sooner?
- If we had been more effective and provided better services to our customers sooner wouldn’t that have bought us earlier successes?
- If we’d had early demonstrable successes wouldn’t that have enhanced our career prospects and opportunities sooner?
And so came the 3rd realisation; ‘I can make that difference a reality for new managers today’.
I’m the Team Whisperer and I look forward to making the difference a reality for you as you start out on your very own journey to build an awesome team
P.S. If I could go back in time to my first day as a manager here’s the advice that I’d give myself!