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5 Things that Change when you Take a Leadership Role

· leadership tips,team management

You are in a leadership position: what changes? What do you need to keep in mind now that you didn't before?

That's what we cover today.
Moving from an individual contributor (or execution) to a leadership position includes a few changes both in your responsibilities and in the way you work.
... do you know what changes? Are you prepared?

Do you know what are the new habits and mindsets to adopt in your new position as a team manager?

Here are 5 Things that Change when you are promoted or take on a Leadership Position:

1 - Learning a New Subject

Now you've taken this challenge, I've got some news for you: you're gonna have to learn something new. And that is how to manage teams and people.

It's easy to forget that taking a new venture implies learning new things.

When we start driving, we know we're learning to drive.

When we start cooking, we know we're learning to cook.

Even when you were studying or learning the skills that got you here, you knew you were learning.

But, when it comes to people management, we often forget we were never taught how to do it and that we, too, must take time to develop this skill.

2 - Things aren't so Straight Forward now

If before the skills you were learning were a bit more straightforward (if this then that way) now, it's not necessarily like that.

In people management, what works for one person or a team doesn't necessarily work for other people or other teams. So things are not as linear as in other subjects. At least, they don't seem to be.

In team management and leadership, what works will depend on a couple of factors. Including, who you are, who your team is, which organization you're part of and even your cultural and social context.

If this seems like a lot, take a look at What's the Best Leadership Style.

3 - Your Results don't depend on You

Shocking! I know...

If before you were executing and your results depended only on what you did or didn't do, now your results depend on what the people you manage do or don't do.

It's a very different approach to measuring success at work.

Now, instead of delving into your own tasks to ensure you do well, the bulk of your work is to ensure your team works well.

4 - Strategy vs People Management vs Execution

Following the train of thought from the previous point, your job now consists mainly of:

a) strategic decisions (some team managers actually don't have this responsibility, but most do need to make decisions about what to do and what not to do) and

b) managing your team

When I first managed a Talent Management department (that's the same as HR/People) I knew I had to make strategic decisions I hadn't done before.

So I intentionally developed my strategic thinking skills.

If you find yourself in a similar position, I highly recommend you start developing your strategic thinking. Otherwise you'll be making decisions that take your time and resources but deliver very little results.

And the same goes for learning about team management and leadership.

But, hey! you're already doing that by being here reading this ;)

5 - Where do you Invest your Time

If before the bulk of your day was to execute on tasks, now the bulk of your work will be to manage your team.

In some cases you have really small teams and need to keep on doing a lot of hands-on work. With time, you'll find making the big decisions will be taking the majority of your day. As Jeff Bezos says, if he can make one good decision a day, that's a job well done.

How much time should you dedicate to people management?

If your team is small and you need to be hands-on most of the time, I'd say between 20-30%. If you don't need to be so hands-on then that might move to 40-50%.

OMG! That's a lot!


You're not going to be talking with the people in your team for that percentage of time. That's counterproductive.

But, just like if you have a presentation you take time to prepare yourself (slides, rehearse, etc), here it'll be the same.

You need to have a difficult conversation? That'll take prep time.

You need to figure out how to engage your team in a new project? That'll take research time, thinking and reflecting time, deciding time and eventually, prep time.

The thing is that no one tells you you need to do this.

And then you end up going into meetings unprepared, leaving frustrated and without the outcomes you desired.

So it's probably better to set enough time aside. You're a team leader now.



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