So you’ve been offered your first leadership role and you’re trying to decide whether or not to take it. Good, most people just grab on to any promotion they can get, but you’re taking a moment to think it out. Ask about your new responsibilities, ask about your new career path, ask about your pay raise. All good things to know, but there are a few important aspects to leadership people never seem to mention.
1. It’s now your fault. What’s that you say, you didn’t do it? It was one of your staff? Great, good to know. You’re still responsible. That’s right, you’re now accountable for other people’s mistakes.
2. Not everyone has your work ethic. Those lazy slackers you outworked right into your new promotion? It’s now your job to motivate them. You know how you take pride in never missing a day of work? Some of your team take pride in minimizing their days of work.
3. You’re now hated. To your team you are now one of them. People will talk about you, mock you behind your back, and worry about what you’re going to say to them. You remember what you used to tell your friends or family about what an idiot your boss was? You’re now that idiot in other people’s conversations.
4. The big problems are now yours. As a manager you will be delegating work to others and anytime it gets difficult they will hand it right back to you. Angry customer? You. Someone in another department is causing problems? You. Any other manager mad about someone on your team? You. Telling someone they have eye watering body odor, aren’t dressed appropriately, can’t have time off, and settling pre-school level arguments between employees. Yep, that’s all you.
5. You probably don’t really get paid more. Yes, there’s a bump in pay, but… probably not in line with the bump in responsibilities and headaches. But… you’re now expected to work more hours, which is great if you’re hourly but not if you’re salaried. But… if your new job switches you from hourly to salary you might even make less than you did before if you used to get regular overtime. A few more promotions and you will be making more, but not this first promotion.
6. You will probably stink as a manager. No one will tell you this, but it’s true. Leading and managing others is a very distinct skill set (with a whole bunch of new, fun legal issues) and you didn’t get promoted for your leadership skills. Think hard about that: you got promoted because you were really good at your old job, not because you are good at the things needed in your new job. It’s one of the few promotions where the responsibilities come on day one and the knowledge and skills come (much) later.
7. Meetings. Those team meetings you always hated? They’re yours to lead now. Oh, and you probably get to attend lots of new meetings you never knew existed. Good times.
8. HR is now your friend. Or your enemy. Either way, they will be more involved in your life so I suggest making them your friend.
Of course, there are some downsides to leadership also, but I’ll save those for another time. 😉