It finally happened — you worked hard in the process of earning a promotion as a manager in your sports business career. The excitement of a new title, office space and autonomy in your role is well deserved and can allow you to grow in ways you may not have expected.
However, such a sizeable personal victory can also add more complexity, challenges, and learning curves to your work life.
A recent study from Robert Half Management Resources asked over 2,000 CFOs what they believed was the most difficult part of becoming a new manager. The top response was balancing individual job responsibilities with the time spent managing others. The second-most popular answer was supervising friends and former peers.
Not sure where to start in your new role as a manager? Check out these three tips on how to handle added responsibility.
Know Your Limits
Before you start making any changes or decisions, gain an understanding of your capacity and personal work limits. Putting your passion and drive for success in its proper place can protect you from burning out in your new role. Productivity tools like WorkFlow and Trello can help you take greater ownership of your time and decrease the number of daily decisions you need to make, freeing you up to spend more time on what matters: your people.
Most importantly, knowing your limits also begs the question, “Am I the best person to take this on?” Asking yourself questions can help you develop the ability to say “no” to a task that may not be the best use of your time.
The late Steve Jobs once said, “People think focus means saying ‘yes’ to the thing you’ve got to focus on. It means saying ‘no’ to the hundred other good ideas that there are. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”
Still unsure? Ask yourself, “who else can I enlist and partner on this?”
Shift Your Focus
For most of your career, you’ve likely been assigned tasks and given deadlines, taking care of what you need to do. A unique aspect of leadership and added responsibility is that it’s not about you anymore. Moving beyond yourself to a point where your top priority is to help others accomplish their tasks in an outstanding way. This could potentially be a difficult shift for first-time managers, but an alteration that must be made. The more you seek to help others achieve their goals, soon you will find that you’ve accomplished yours.
“When you’re only concerned about yourself, you can become very goal-oriented,” says Vince Pierson, director of diversity and inclusion with MiLB. “Providing projects, investing in their learning experience, and being intentional about carving out time built trust (with others), and it turned out to be a relief to me. At the end of the day, task completion is still the goal, but the path to get there is a little bit different.”
The performance of your team is a reflection of your own output. Challenge yourself and your team to ask proactive questions. This breeds systems and structure to the processes — and hopefully productivity tools — in place.
Seeking intentional collaboration with other departments within your organization will also give you a greater clarity on your organization as a whole and more importantly, why your leadership matters.
Address New Relationship Dynamics
The higher in leadership one rises, the harder it becomes to please everyone. Defining relationships with your subordinates quickly is critical. Don’t wait to see how things develop; by then it may be too late to establish boundaries and expectations.
Added responsibility also brings the opportunity for a deeper impact on those around you. Taking the time to know your staff personally has the ability to multiply your effectiveness.
Brené Brown, a New York Times best-selling author and researcher at the University of Houston, defines trust as “choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” Building trust and empathizing with your staff may not sound authoritative, but can lead to greater influence over time than traditional “transactional” interactions.
Still feeling overwhelmed or in need of additional support? Seek out a mentor to voice your concerns. But keep in mind, your promotion brings an elevated platform. Complaining and seeking advice are two different attitudes. Don’t just find a mentor, become one by modeling the behavior you are looking for your team to replicate.
“Mentorship is simply accountability,” said Christopher Everett Jr., director of student-athlete development, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “Have a set of standards and find out what kind of person they are outside of the workplace.” In the process of “becoming,” make sure your model aligns with who you want to become.
Being promoted to a managerial role deserves recognition, but handling added responsibility is an ongoing learning experience, and most likely will never be easy. By understanding your limits, setting expectations, and shifting your focus from the start, you will be well on the way to your next career milestone.