Jason Fried, Founder and CEO of Basecamp, recently wrote about how easy it is to be a bad manager. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do. Managers will recognize their own experiences in his writing. If you’re planning to become a manager, it’ll give you a heads-up on what to look forward to. Spoiler alert: No matter how good you were at your previous job, as a manager you will be a beginner again!)
Fried notes that professional managers have typically spent most of their career doing something else and get promoted to management. In management, they have brand-new, complex situations to figure out. They also have to learn the enigma known as “people” and get good at knowing people react to situations they face. Fried’s summary of the “new manager” experience is accurate: “When you practice being a manager, you’re already on stage. Your flubs have consequences. Fucking up could cost you or someone else their job. It could cost a business money, customers, reputation.”
I shared Fried’s article with my team members, which led one of them to wonder: If you’re learning as you go as a new manager, and your mistakes could have big consequences like costing you or someone else their job…how do you prevent big mistakes (or at least catch them quickly)? How do you ensure your learning curve as a new manager doesn’t cost anyone a job?
Read the rest of my blog post on Medium.