From being one of the boys to becoming their leader, there will be high expectations on Ryan Giggs as he takes on the role of interim manager of Manchester United, which is probably the world's most popular football club.
Making the transition from working alongside your peers to managing them can be fraught with difficulties for the person promoted. Unless you are equipped with the necessary skills, mindset and attitude, getting promoted in this way can take its toll.
Being very good at what you do doesn't automatically make you a leader. Unfortunately, there are still some organisations that promote employees purely on this basis, not providing them with the leadership development that they need. To put yourself in the best possible position to not only secure that promotion but to embrace your new leadership role, you need to make sure that you've got what it takes to be a good leader.
So what makes a good leader? With so many theories on leadership and so many leadership models, which one is the right one and which one do you fit in to? My personal favourites are Authentic Leadership (as in Bill George) followed by Primal Leadership (Daniel Goleman and Emotional Intelligence) as these help to give you a self awareness of who you are and how you impact others. They also show how you can be your true self whilst fulfilling your leadership responsibilities.
I have heard people say the first line manager role is the most difficult because you are caught in the middle, having to manage the pressures from above as well as those from below. If you have recently made or are about to make that transition, here are 5 situations that you may come across that might challenge you in your new role:-
Not being viewed as a leader
You're one of the crowd and have regularly been out for drinks after work with your colleagues, generally having a good time with them. Sharing office gossip round the water cooler, discussing the latest 'who's sleeping with who' type of conversations. It is no longer appropriate for you to engage in this type of gossip and you are expected to dampen and discourage this type of banter, possibly even having to reprimand those who were once your peers when they speak out of turn.
As a manager to your former peers, you have now become 'one of them' (a term often associated with management teams) and you may experience resentment, lack of trust, even jealousy. You may even find that they think that they could do a better job than you.
You will quickly need to establish boundaries, certain things that may have been appropriate for you to be involved with are no longer appropriate and you will need to make this clear to your team. Show them that you are still the same person, however, as their manager there has to be boundaries.
Change for change sake
Often when newly promoted, people want to make their mark and establish their territory, trying to impress those more senior to them. They go in heavy handed and change systems and processes just to show that they are boss.
Don't go in there making changes just for change sake. If you do identify that changes do need to be made, get the team on board and listen to their view and ideas, taking them on board where appropriate. Remember though, the ultimate decision is yours and where it is not feasible to implement someone's idea, give them feedback, thanking them for their input and letting them know why it is not appropriate.
Respect needs to be earned
There is nothing worse than having a team that does not respect you. Be fair in your decisions and treatment of your team, listen to them and get to know them and show genuine interest in them. Communicate with them, remembering that communication is a two way process. Make sure that the messages you communicate are not only heard but are understood. Keep them up to date and informed with what is going on in the organisation.
One leader I knew had a very hard exterior. Her team did not respect her and were fearful of her. Working from a position of fear does not bring out the best in people.
Just because you are their manager doesn't buy automatic respect. You have to earn it.
If there are strong characters on your team, you're going to need to assert yourself so that their voices do not take over and they lead the team in a direction that you don't want them to go. You may need to deal with some very awkward situations with your former peers and cannot shy away from your responsibility.
You will also need to be able to assert yourself with your senior managers and not be afraid to professionally and articulately voice your opinion so that you do not simply become a puppet with them pulling all the strings.
Trying to do it all
A common thing that I have seen in new managers is trying to do it all and not delegating or where they do delegate, not delegating effectively. As a result they often stay very late at work, making sure that everything gets done. This often makes them very stressed.
A lot of people like autonomy and if you are faced with a difficult situation, you may be pleasantly surprised just how willing your team are to come up with a solution. When they have contributed to the solution, they are more likely to take ownership and make it work.
One client when faced with a particular issue had a meeting with the team, presented the issue to them and informed them that they needed to find a way to make it work and asked them how they thought this could be done. They came up with a workable solution and all agreed to play their part in making it work and you know what, they made damned sure that it did work.
Making that transition to leadership can be a very enjoyable, enriching experience, however it also brings a set of new challenges that you may never have experienced before so make sure that you are fully equipped to embrace your new role.
Have you ever made the transition to a leadership role? If so, what were the challenges that you faced? What advice would you give to Ryan Giggs? Please contact Abounding Solutions here
Photo by By Allison Pasciuto (originally posted to Flickr as giggsy!) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. This does not in any way that suggest that they endorse me or my use of the work.