Quantcast
The 1 Thing I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Manager | Fairygodboss
default img
Mystery Woman
Tell us more for better jobs, advice
and connections
your interests
Your feed isn’t personalized yet. Follow topics like career advice, lifestyle or health.
companies you follow
companiesBoxImage
Get alerted when there are new employee reviews.
YOUR JOB ALERTS
Get notified when new jobs are posted.
Moving on Up
The 1 Thing I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Manager
AdobeStock
Lita Madlang image
Lita Madlang,
star-svg
17

I always thought I’d love being a leader, until I was one. I was catching up with my boss over coffee, listening intently while she outlined the new organizational structure. My ears really perked up when she casually said I would now be Spencer’s manager. I immediately agreed with excitement. What an opportunity! It wasn’t until I left the meeting that it really sank in. How was I going to manage Spencer, who was a close friend and co-worker? We had always been equal. We had always been counter-parts. 

It was a rough and awkward start. I walked an uncomfortable line, stepping back and forth between friend and leader. I constantly relied on my own manager for tips and direction. I practically did everything she told me to do, but I still felt that I was failing at being a manager. As the year went on, it was time for mid-year performance reviews. I wanted to give constructive feedback to truly help Spencer succeed and reach his career goals.

I thought through how the discussion would go, and decided it would feel more natural and relaxed if we had our meeting outside in the nice weather. We sat on a bench, and I looked at Spencer as the sun blinded him. He put on his sunglasses. Immediately the existing wall between us grew taller. As I nervously went through each step of the performance review, just as my manager instructed me, it hit me. All this time, I was listening to someone else and ignored my instincts. I lost myself while trying to be the perfect boss and it was like I became a corporate robot. I was so wrapped up in doing everything right, I was doing everything wrong. 

In that moment, I let my guard down with Spencer, and I expressed how weird it had been being his new boss and that I was trying my best. He finally seemed to respond to me. He took off his glasses, and I saw tears well up in his eyes. He was clearly just as frustrated as I was. It had been months since we had a real, true conversation. 

Forget the corporate structures, the systems, the requirements. I learned an important lesson that day; I learned that no one can tell you how to lead. Yes, you can read books, try new tips, take a class, but it is up to you to find your authenticity, and to use it to lead and inspire others. 

Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up!

--

Lita Madlang is a senior communications advisor for Rio Tinto, a global mining company. She is a writer and outdoor enthusiast from Salt Lake City, Utah. Lita has a BA in Mass Communications and is pursuing an Executive MS in Strategic Communications from Columbia University.  

No Comments Yet ...
girl-one-image
The Fairygodboss Feed
We're a community of women sharing advice and asking questions
background-svggirl-two-image
Start a Post
Share your thoughts (even anonymously)...
Personalize your jobs
Get recommendations for recent and relevant jobs.
Recent Content