“Julie Long, a senior developer at a software company, was identified by her manager as a high performer. When she was asked to coordinate a team of three junior developers on a project, Julie was excited about the opportunity to finally move into a management role. However she quickly became frustrated. Things that were simple and easy for her were not getting done in a timely way by her team. After just a few weeks in her new role, as she reviewed the code her team members had written, she found herself seriously considering scrapping their contributions and writing it all herself. She knew that if she worked a few extra hours, she could likely match the output of all three of her direct reports.
This scenario is all too common when an individual is asked to make the leap from expert to manager. It’s especially common when someone is asked to lead a team of their recent peers. But jumping into the weeds and trying to do everything, even if it works initially, is not a sustainable strategy. Ultimately a manager needs to focus on becoming a successful teacher and mentor in order to help their people develop and grow, and to increase the overall capacity of the team.
But this requires a dramatic change in mindset, and it’s this process that is so difficult for many of the recently promoted. Because coaching and coordinating others is not how you spent your days as an individual contributor, it can be hard to discard old habits. Start by tracking the improvement of your direct reports from where they are rather than comparing their output and capabilities to your own. If you assess people individually, their talents will emerge—and their progress will become a measure of your own success.”