You got promoted to manager. Finally! Want to be the worst manager you can be? Here are some key concepts for you, new manager. Trust me, I’ve worked very hard to decode these well-hidden secrets of the worst managers from years of observation and Ivy League business research. This is the quick and dirty on what not to do.
Never say no. Do everything your manager and any senior executive tells you. While you’re at it don’t you dare question any expectations or preferences. Don’t worry about your credibility with senior leadership, you got promoted didn’t you? You’ll need to get chummy with the senior people and the only way is to be a “yes” man or woman. Your staff will really appreciate getting 100% of the new tasks you pass right along.
Don’t waste your time trying to understand the company’s revenue model. The cost structure and balance sheet are only for the finance manager and they’re probably so complex and unrelated to your tasks that it’s well beyond you. Unless you’re in Finance (emphasis on capital F) just focus on your known tasks only because revenue vs. cost doesn’t really have anything to do with your good business decisions on behalf of the company.
Focus on details. Keep everything compartmentalized. Vague summaries don’t help your staff and only Jedi masters can make assumptions or guess about the meaning of it all. Your staff will be glad that you dive into every tidbit of every project. When the time-pressed senior execs need to know what you’re doing, they will want every last detail so be prepared to deliver it all. Elevator speeches are for job-seekers. Lengthy detail-oriented sit reps are for executives. Also, the end goal of every project is only the completion of cumulative tasks. The next project should have started by now. Ready, go!
Your presentations are okay as-is. Hardly anyone is listening anyhow. You already know most of PowerPoint right? Speaking out and representing your division to a vice president or even representing your profession to the public at recruiting events is pretty rare. If your confidence in speaking is flagging, keep in mind that even a difficult presentation will end soon enough.
Active listening is just a buzz word. You really must interrupt and challenge. Whatever your company priorities or your boss’ priorities or your team’s priorities are, they all put you in charge so let everyone else know just how it’s supposed to work. You are responsible for level-setting now. Express yourself, especially to the new colleagues that expect you to overextend yourself on their behalf.
Good performers don’t need extra motivation. Don’t stress about how to motivate your team. They all claimed to be strongly self-motivated when they were hired, right? If they can’t figure out how to get excited to do a good job on their own, you now have the power to replace them.
Professional development? Expanding and growing individual capabilities is for the largest, cash-rich companies that can afford to send anyone to get an MBA. Your team might have need to learn a software tool or get started with a new process. They can do it themselves or Susan can train them since she thinks the world of herself anyhow. It’s probably on YouTube already, so any instructions that they need are already available elsewhere for free.
You cannot be expected to discern what your team needs much less when they need it. If it’s going to require extra support to take that next project hill, perhaps you can move the hill. You are not the great savior and coach that will provide both motivation and development support, sheesh. They can go find a consultant for that.
Exerting influence. Collecting data or information for your work is not necessary. It will only take your elegant powers of speech to get consensus on your ideas. Your boss will likely sign off on all the additional resources you might need. Go ahead and get prepared right away with two more staff and all new laptops. There is no political influence peddling for this because you are the manager after all. To be effective, you just have to know whom to ask for information.
Congratulations Nero, the world is your oyster and it should be a cake walk from here to retirement since you’re the manager now! You can expect an off day here and there, but every day will bring more power and respect now that your business card says Manager. Go hard. Go fast. No failure. No fear. The first week after your promotion is the best time to prove to everyone that you’re the worst manager there is.
About the author
John Andrilla is a technical communicator with a passion for teamwork, project management, writing and editing. Recognized for “using optimism to move mountains.” LinkedIn profile: https://bit.ly/active-voicer