People can change but it’s hard. We all have default responses and under pressure we often fall back on what has worked in the past. In the workplace, it can look like this– a person with strong technical skill, decent communication skills and great attendance is promoted into a supervisor role. Time passes and on paper, things look great. Customer complaints are down and quality is up– for a while. The new supervisor has made an impact but chances are it’s not going to be sustainable.
A master welder or record breaking sales person are strong individual contributors. The skills that get this group of valuable employees promoted is often what does them in. They take great pride in their work and it’s easier for them to jump in and get the job done themselves.
Self awareness is a must if a supervisor is going to stand a chance. What’s your default response? Not sure how well you are doing as a manager? The test– what happens when you are out of the office? If your team falls apart and things don’t get done, it’s possible your default is heavy on what got you promoted. It’s hard to let go of that but if you don’t, the numbers will quickly start telling the story your people already know. If you were promoted, trust me– someone saw potential in you that extended beyond the quality of your welds. It takes work but you want your default to be leadership and grace under pressure.