Most of us are starting our careers by wrestling with operational day-to-day problems. It’s exciting and rewarding, as we learn the ropes of our professions.
But at some point (after we have excelled at our jobs for many years and have gained enough experience) we are asked to lead a team and teach some of those hard-earned lessons to the up-and-comers.
Becoming a manager / leader is a crossroad of sorts. Leading people requires different skills and entails entirely new responsibilities than you were used to as a practitioner.
How this role will look like depends on the stage of the company you are working for.
Your job will look very different working deep in startup mode, experimenting your way through to the best go-to-market strategy, vs. working at a business in growth stage, where you are figuring out how to scale.
But for those who decide it’s the right path for them to take, my podcast guest Tara Robertson, CMO at Teamwork.com has identified two mindset shifts that go a long way in making you an effective leader regardless of the stage your company is at:
1. It’s not your job to know everything. Don’t pretend to.
Many new leaders are crippled by imposter syndrome early in their career. They think they are responsible for needing to have an answer for all the things. They are scared and worried that if they don't, they'll be found out as incompetent.
But wherever you are in your career, you will never have all the answers and you are not expected to. You are not the expert anymore. In fact you can’t be an expert on the all the topics your employees are covering.
Sometimes the best answer simply is: "I actually don't know that right now, but I'll find out". And then you and your team go out and find that answer. Together.
2. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
You come into a leadership position because you have experience and probably have been in the trenches yourself for years. That is a good thing, you have walked your talk. BUT this is not your job anymore.
→ Your job is to empower and serve the people that work with you.
→ Your job is to enable them to find the right answers and support them to grow and blossom in their careers.
Instead of knowing and doing all the things yourself, your job as a leader is to hire people smarter than you and empower them to achieve their goals and move the company forward.
Whether you are a CEO, a marketing leader, an agency owner, a creator or a middle manager at a large enterprise, incorporating those two lessons alone will make you a much more effective leader.
PS: If you want to hear the full conversation with Tara Robertson (Spotify):