As time goes on, usually our career destination is to take on higher responsibilities mainly involving leadership/management. Some of us decide to take that on, whereas others prefer not to.
I recently caught up with a candidate who is now in the management space, but previously was a software developer. This candidate was referred (and recommended) to me by someone I know very well for many years.
The candidate’s story was wonderful to listen to! For him, life’s a journey - you are always learning, trying new things, and earning respect!
He continued to state “It comes with your “highs” and your “lows”, but it’s all about how you embrace it!”
When this candidate was given the opportunity to take on a management position for the first time (and therefore in that transition phase in his career) a number of years back, he decided to take on the new opportunity. Though he was “comfortable” and respected by his colleagues as a developer, he had never officially managed staff before (of course being a senior developer he had mentored staff). He felt he was ready and this would be a great move for his career.
“I totally misjudged the role and responsibility!” The candidate continued to say that at that time the company was going through massive internal changes, and he was thrown in the deep end! With very little guidance he was doing his best, unfortunately though his colleagues who had respected him previously started seeing him differently – that is, he was no longer one of them! During this time, projects weren’t being delivered on time, felt the team wasn’t respecting him, and upper management was not happy. He was going downhill on a Slippery Slope of Failures!
He started feeling mentally and emotionally drained and was almost ready to give up…but something inside of him wanted to make this work!
One day as he was attending a work function, given the current circumstances and mindset, he was trying to keep to himself, but was approached by a senior individual. “It was the best thing that ever happened, and now he is my mentor.” The senior individual had a wealth of experience in management and was a NED (Non-Executive Director) in various companies.
Without going into lots of details – this senior individual gave him plenty of advice that day, but the two things that he acted on immediately was all about Team Building, and earning respect as a manager. He reflected on himself and realised that there were 3 definite areas he needed to work/improve on. These were around Focus, Self-Management, and Communication.
The candidate wrapped it up by saying once he improved on these 3 main areas, things started changing. Since then, obviously, there have been many areas he has improved on, undergone various training and successfully delivered many projects and many different teams. He stressed though that he has learnt a lot from many failures (“Its never been smooth sailing, but you got to keep going!”) and based on the journey and from these experiences – he has had many wins, and glad he took the step into management! “But, it’s always been an on-going process in terms of self-reflection, particularly on those 3 areas, which I now call my Alert Calls”.
I’m sure some of us can relate to this story, whether it’s stepping into a management or leadership role and experience new challenges; going through stages of almost giving up because of set-backs but not giving up; or getting advice from someone at the right time! In fact – many well-known personalities (Jack Ma, Dwayne Johnson [also known by “The Rock”], Jim Carrey, and Oprah Winfrey to name a few), have also experienced failures/challenges in their journey, but through persistence, hard work and self-reflection, made a positive mark and became successful in their own right!
Coming back to Team Building, Self-Awareness and the relationship to Focus, Self-Management, and Communication, below is a quick summary:
Alert call#1 Focus
There will always be plenty of tasks/things to get done, so not to shift focus! Remember what’s important and focus on the main business /project goals, and prioritise. If you are clear in your mind what the priorities are and therefore what to focus on, than you will be able to articulate this easily to your team, and motivate them to the common goal!
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” - Zig Ziglar
Alert call#2 Personal or Self-Management
I mentioned above that my candidate started feeling mentally and emotionally drained. Leadership/Management is a tiring game, and there is plenty of research, blogs and articles out there stating the importance and benefits (in leadership) of taking care of the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. It reduces fatigue and stress, enabling us to keep focus. When we have energy and focus, your team will as well!
“Time management is really personal management, life management and management of yourself.” — Brian Tracy
Alert call#3 Communication
"Say what you mean, and mean what you say". It comes back to being focused, knowing your priorities, and then communicating them effectively with the rest of the team. A leader that communicates well is well respected by the team and peers! The quote below sums it up!
"Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can't get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn't even matter." — Gilbert Amelio
So that take home message – Life is a journey! "It comes with your “highs” and your “lows”, but it’s all about how you embrace it!" Think about your own Alert Calls, areas that need constant self-reflection/Self-Awareness and therefore always improvement!
So...what do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this post.
Praneil Raniga | Director of Recruit and Deliver Pty Ltd
firstname.lastname@example.org | 07 3040 9786 | 0430 040 046 | www.recruitanddeliver.com
Praneil Raniga is the Founder and Director of Recruit and Deliver Pty Ltd.Now-a-days, Praneil's main role within Recruit & Deliver is focused around staff management, as well as spearheading the growth of the company. He also continues to be hands-on in search and recruitment..
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