Who put me in charge?
In 1981, along with my old business partner, I started my first business in engineering which was a huge step for me. A month or so later along came our first employee and I became a manager for the first time. Who put me in charge? Where was my leadership and managerial awareness?
I remember asking myself the question ‘how I manage others?’ My response was to reflect on how I had been managed and repeat the pattern. Like so many others I assumed that because I was good at mechanical engineering I must automatically be good at running a business and managing. How wrong could I have been?
My attempts to model the way others had managed me didn’t work out as I was managing using other people’s styles. Some were good and some not so good and certainly not my own. Many mistakes and issues later I realised that I needed to be trained to be a manager as it is just like any other skill. Well, I missed the point again as I failed to realise that of course people can’t be managed.
Processes can be managed but people must be led and need leaders – hence the need for leaders and managers in today’s business world.
However, apart from the lack of training on my part to act as anybody’s line manager I also assumed responsibility for running the business which was my new baby.
So off I went and boy did I make mistakes, some small, some huge but most were of a decent size and cost me money I had never budgeted for.
Who Put Me in Charge?
I had put myself in charge regardless of whether or not I was the best one for the job. I only realised this when I was asked this question one day by a business coach
‘would you recruit someone with your training and experience to run your business?’
My honest answer was an emphatic ‘no’.
This set me off on a journey which included training and coaching as I worked hard to turn myself into the kind of leader/manager I would recruit.
In my experience since those early days, I have found that many people running businesses and especially SME’s are qualified to do so only because they started the business.
Developing Your Leadership and Managers
If you are going to put your all into your own business then either bring in a professional leader/manager to make it work for you or get yourself some appropriate training and coaching. Having worked in this field for many years now I see the benefits it brings and can help transform an idea into a sustainable success.
If the answer to the question ‘who put me in charge’ is ‘me’ then you need to do some serious soul-searching and question if you have the skills necessary and if not get them. The success of your business is relying on you and your leadership.
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©Tony Wright FIC May 2018
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