On the Way From an IC to a Manager
6 July, 2021
When I moved from being an IC to a manager, it was like turning into a new leaf. All this while I was responsible for my own tasks. Suddenly, I had to be accountable for a whole team. So, the question arose, how could I make this transition successful? How could I handle so many challenges at the same time? Since I was not only going to be responsible for my own work and delivery, I had to find a way to make it count.
Then I realized that my success depended on other people's success — i.e., if the people who reported to me fail, I will not succeed. It did become an obstacle for me because it was an ongoing problem. I was struggling at delegating things that I was responsible for. When I needed other people to help, the delegation was one of the significant challenges for me. Naturally, I liked to do things and solve problems rather than ask people to do it for me.
Have a mentor
I had a mentor, and luckily, my mentor was my manager. That became an added advantage because he was an insider of the company, and he could understand what was going on. On top of that, I also had an external mentor, who helped me think outside of the box. Having someone helping you think without having any conflict of interest was important. My manager and my mentors guided me through the way that helped me work and build trust with my team. Gradually, I gained enough confidence in myself to function as a successful manager.
I talked to all the people in my team and the company, and the only way that I had to practice delegation was to get my hands dirty as well. I started working with them, and after a while, I began to trust them and vice versa. The important thing for me was to talk about everything openly. You need to speak up and not put things on the surface. I realized that many are talking about a lot of things on the inside, and not bringing it out loud, which is why I started speaking first.
I made it crystal clear that it was my first time doing that role in the company. Therefore, I might have been making mistakes, or may make mistakes in the future, but we all can learn from it. I needed my team members to understand that making mistakes would help us grow. In any moment, if I felt a little vulnerable, I would show it, insead of hiding it. My team members appreciated how I had posed myself and been honest about everything.
- Managers have to go through a lot of situations, and imposter syndrome is one of them. Everyone has their weaknesses and strengths, but you do not need to hide it. We are all humans, and a baggage of emotions, so understand people and help them overcome any kinds of problems when facing any.
- You need to trust people. If they feel you do not trust them, eventually, they will get demotivated. Your team members can tell when you trust them, and when you don’t.
- Get into the habit of adopting everything. Everyone is different, and cannot think fixedly. You can believe in a pre-made approach, and you need to shape your strategy while dealing with people. This is a struggle for most of the people in tech fields, from engineers to managers. Then there are also technical things, like reading books and learning from them.
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