New managers are now coaches more than doers
I’m reminded of my brother-in-law, who has always been a talented baseball player. He was a pitching star all through Little League and high school. Then he went to college on a baseball scholarship and after graduating, was recruited by the San Francisco Giants. He went into their farm system and made it all the way up to Triple-A, which, if you’re not a baseball fan, means you’re in the league just under the majors. He played Triple-A ball for three years but was never was quite good enough to make the big leagues. So, the Giants cut him – he was heartbroken.
We get promoted to a management position because we’re really good at what we do. Then, we don’t get to do it anymore. We have to encourage other people to do it.
So, you have to go through this transition and it really presents a psychological challenge for most of us. You go from being a doer to being a coach. It requires a period of adjustment. And during that period, you can fall into a trap called the “I Can Do It Better Syndrome.”
New managers can often feel insecure
Because they really don’t know what to do. So it’s tempting to fall back on what they do know. For example, let’s say one of your team members comes to you with a problem and says, “Gee, I can’t seem to get the resources I need from the people over in purchasing. I’ve been calling and calling over there and nobody will return my calls.”
Let’s say that one reason you got promoted was because you were so darn good at dealing with the people in purchasing. So, what is your temptation? To say, “Here, I’ll call those people and take care of it.” Unfortunately, that’s not your job anymore. Your job now is to teach that person who’s struggling with the people in purchasing so she or he can be more effective over there.
New Managers often fall into the “I can do it better” syndrome
So if you’re one of those new managers, and you’re tempted to do something yourself that one of your subordinates would benefit from learning, ask yourself, “Am I falling into the”I Can Do It Better Syndrome” when somebody else could do it?” Secondly, ask yourself, “Can I teach this rather than do it myself?”