The Manager’s Challenge

To all managers and directors:

You got to this position by demonstrating your analytical skills, decision making assertiveness, boldness, intelligence, visionary perspective, and much more.. Congratulations! You and everybody who has worked with you knows it. You don’t have to prove it anymore, not to yourself, not to your coworkers, not to your boss.
It is a proven fact; You are a talented great professional in your field. 

Now that you are a manager, no matter how big or small your team is, you are now the manager of other people working in order to achieve a common goal. All the skills that brought you here won’t be enough and in some cases, they will be your biggest obstacles for your team and company’s success. 

Your awareness on this will make the difference from a great place to work achieving all goals, or a terrible team that no-one wants to be part of, resulting consequentially into low performance results. 

How many times have you gotten frustrated with your team? Cursed at whom ever hire them or thought you made a mistake by hiring them yourself?
How many times have you felt that instead of teaching them you could do it all by yourself in less time?
How many times have you disagreed with your team when they proposed something new and asked them to do exactly what you requested? 

Well, thats your ego talking, and it is alright, your profesional ego was built through years of hard work and continuous success. It is normal to instinctively listen to your own perspective first and foremost, over anyone else that has not earned your respect yet.
The only issue is that now you wont be able to keep growing by yourself, you have a team because the goals you have been assigned are much bigger and complex, so much that you need a team to work full time in order to achieve them. 

Now, your biggest challenge will be:  TO LISTEN.

Listen to the less experienced person who “knows nothing about the company” who is so junior as you were 10 years ago, who has no idea what your business has gone through.
LISTEN to that person that has no “noise” from the past, who has fresh and bold ideas, who is challenging the status quo like you stopped doing some years ago, listen to that person who is going to ask the right and the wrong questions, who is going to do things differently from what you have proved over and over again has been the best way so far. 

Listen, and allow them to make mistakes, to be wrong and try again, allow them to “move fast and break things”.
That person is the one who will allow you to see things from a different perspective, to be aware of what is happening outside your years of experience, to disrupt the current status quo to assure a continuous improvement & growth for you, your team and your company.

Because the only way you will be able to keep growing is to BUILD UP your team, to coach them, give them a safe space to try, to fail and to succeed.
Celebrate their success and recognize them in public, but coach their failures, help them learn from their mistakes and assume those failures as your own in public (take the blame as if it were your hands who made the mistake). Show them that you are there to hold them up and to take all the punches when things go wrong. 

Be patient, not everyone has the same strategy and approach to solve problems as you do, some people take more time, some people take other paths, but you have to believe blindly in your team, in their talent and skills, in the way they complement each other, trust them because that’s the only way they will learn to trust themselves. Open your mind and always, always first expect positive intentions. Be confident that your team is doing everything they can to achieve the common goal. This is the most important part of your job, BUILDING UP an amazing team of people who will do great things for your company, who will multiply exponentially your intelligence and abilities. 

And, if/when you realize someone is a blocker in your team and your team is a blocker for that person’s growth, then fire him/her, fire that person fast and in an honest direct way, with real and open constructive feedback, that will help him/her improve and find their right path somewhere else. 

Once you do all this, you will consequentially earn your team’s: respect, loyalty, hard work, and continuous improvement. They will truly “have your back”, and they will go out of their ways to keep learning and growing to achieve the team’s and your success.

Your goal should be to build up a team that is much better than you, in every single way. A team that surprises you with better results that you were expecting, a team that when you ask for “A” you know they will deliver “A+” because you have build up their knowledge, skills, & confidence.

That’s when you will become a good manager & a real leader. That’s when you will get the exponential results you have been looking for. Because you will no longer be one person trying to push everyone, but you will be the person clearing the path for everyone to walk(maybe even run) strong and steadily forward. Motivated and inspired by your leadership and example. 

During several coaching sessions I’ve given to outstanding managers, this is what I have found to be the biggest challenge. But the moment they become aware of it, the change is immediate, and more shocking, the team’s change and results are always surprisingly fast and dramatic. People respond to constructive intelligent management naturally, and immediately. 

If you are a manager currently questioning your team’s success, I hope this helps you taking the first step forward into becoming an inspiring successful leader. 

Published by Ale Arce

Founder & Managing Partner. Business strategist with passion for business growth & development. As Chief marketing officer of several companies from e-commerce to financial services she has experienced what is needed to grow your business in this digital era. She worked at Facebook for several years in product marketing for different regions. Also, worked at the fastest growing startups in latam including Linio.

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