Overcoming Misconceptions Or Myths About Management Positions

Once a new manager is appointed, usually they need help to overcome their misconceptions or myths about your position in management. According to Linda Hill (2007), the myths v. reality are




Defining characteristics of the new role

authority - have the freedom and autonomy to implement ideas; focus on the rights and privileges of being boss

interdependency - become enmeshed in a web of relationships (importance of networks)

Source of power

formal authority - can get things done; autocratic approach (staff will follow orders); don't delegate

credibilty, trust, competence and influence - need to develop credibility and trust as staff are wary and you really have to earn their respect and trust (no blind loyalty to following orders); need to demonstrate competence as a manager (knowing how to do the right things; more listening than talking; don't micro-manager) and influence (ability to deliver and execute the right thing through a strong web of interdependent relationships)

Desired outcome

control - must get compliance from staff (compliance does not mean commitment); too much reliance on formal authority whose effectiveness is questionable; staff do not take initiative nor delegate

commitment ‐ empower staff so they take initiative while managers delegate effectively and direct reports take calculated risks

Managerial focus

managing one-on-one - role is to build relationships with individual staff and as a flow-on, with the team; primary focus is individual performance, identifying and solving problems

team-building responsibilities - need to create a culture that will allow the team to fulfill its potential and harness the collective power of the group to improve individual performance and commitment; supervising each individual is not the same as leading a team. This involves managing interdependencies, and exercising informal authority derived from personal credibility requires new managers to build trust, influence, and mutual expectations with a wide group of people; establishing productive personal relationships

Key challenge

keeping the operations in working order - job is to make sure all the operations run smoothly; maintaining status quo thinking; see responsibilities very narrowly; blame flawed system and others for problems

making changes that will make the team perform better - responsible for initiating changes to enhance the group's performance; acting as a change agent by challenging status quo; working through both formal and informal structure

. Usually managers find a new role is

- a stretch assignment - it is considerably more demanding than anticipated; expertise to handle their previous position is different from that required for the new position, ie

"...as managers, they are responsible for setting and implementing an agenda for a whole group, something for which their careers and individual performance haven't prepared them..."

Linda Hill, 2007

- learning to lead is a process of learning by doing - it is a craft best acquired through on-the-job experiences, including adverse experiences when working beyond your current capabilities, and proceeding by trial and error, ie

"...Most star individual performers haven't made many mistakes, so this is new for them. Furthermore, few managers are aware, in the stressful, mistake-making moments, they are learning. The learning are incrementally and gradually. As this process slowly progresses - as the new manager unlearns a mindset and habits that served him over a highly successful early career - a new professional identity emerges. He internalizes new ways of thinking and being and discovers new ways of measuring success and deriving satisfaction from work......this kind of psychological adjustment is taxing. As one new manager notes, I never knew a promotion could be so painful..."

Linda Hill, 2007

- need to create the conditions for success ‐ this includes asking for help (remember: no one has all the answers)


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