High C - Manager performance v Individual Contributor
BLUF: I have been a team leader for 18 months, managing those who were previously my peers. I like my job, (love lots of aspects of it even!) and have a team of good people. However I don’t consider that I manage my people well enough. I am very much a high C and a perfectionist. I beat myself up a lot about it and wonder whether I would be better going back to an individual contributor role.
A little more detail –
I did the job of my directs for over 10 years. I understand their frustrations, and it is my aim to empower them, get them more engaged in their role and therefore in the business as a whole. In the role that I have now I'm now able to give them support, remove obstacles that get in the way of performance, develop and improve processes and of course, I want to develop each one of my directs.
However, I’m not satisfied with my own performance in terms of managing the team, and I’m starting to think that is as much down to me as them:
We operate fortnightly 1-2-1s, (in between these we do talk/discuss stuff on a day-to-day basis.) I encourage my team to prepare in advance, but it’s always a struggle. I feel like I make time to listen and generally don’t give unrealistic deadlines, but behind the good relationship we have, I still feel a kind of kick-back: the stuff I’ve asked them to do seems to be at the back of their list of priorities.
To counteract this I try and ensure we agree actions and timescales. However, increasingly I feel like it’s my own fault I make slow progress with these, as I don’t follow-up sufficiently afterwards. Why not? I don’t know. I just want them to do pretty much what I do when I’m asked to do something – just get it done! Yet I know everyone isn’t made the same way and I can’t expect or compare my behaviour with their behaviour.
I have made a conscious effort to pull up my ‘I’ and ‘S’ traits to fulfil my leadership role, and also to consider where my team are coming from and move towards them if necessary. I try and catch myself shying away from conversations and put myself out there. Mostly, as bad I think it is going to be, it’s not half as bad when I do it - and I do get a whole lot of satisfaction when things do come together every now and again.
Do I not love this side of the job as it's hard and takes me out of my comfort zone, or because actually I'm just not suited to it and I should just admit that to myself and look at going back to an individual contributor role? I'm a proper perfectionist, so it nags away at me every day that I should do better and it’s starting to wear me down a little.
I'd appreciate any advice given here. Thanks.