Why Professionals Struggle When They Move into Management and Leadership Roles

The career ladder is very set in most professions. Do a good job in the early stages of your career and you get noticed. You start to build a reputation as the person who makes things happen. You may even get support to develop your skills.

Eventually you get promoted into a management role. For some it is a seamless transition. For many it is a culture shock,

So why do professionals sometimes struggle when they move into management and leadership roles?

Confidence Crisis

When you are at the top of the tree and are highly rated at a certain level, you are brimming with confidence.

Chances are you get a lot of positive feedback.

When you step up the landscape is very different. You have to deal with a whole host of things, many of which are unfamiliar and even difficult.

Everyone is watching you to see how you are going to shape up (or at least that’s what you might tell yourself).

Faced with all of these expectations, it is easy to have a dip in your confidence.

Be ready for it and recognise that it is just part of the transition journey.

Too Hands On

Many professional roles, especially those in healthcare are very hands on. You are judged on your ability to get things done.

When you step into management and leadership roles, your success is much more about your ability to achieve results through others.

This means you have to stand back, trust others, delegate, facilitate, orchestrate rather than having a hand in everything.

Too Status Focused

The best ideas don’t always come from the most senior people. Often the best ideas come from those closest to the detail.

A good manager or leader will be more interested in achieving the best results than having all the best ideas.

For professionals there can be this false belief that seniority must mean you have all the answers.

Don’t buy into this false belief.

Underestimating People Skills

All of the best managers and leaders that I have come across from professional backgrounds have great people skills.

They understand and care about others. They understand the importance of praise and recognition. They understand that if they look after people, they will go that extra mile to deliver, even when it is challenging.

The Bottom Line: Any transition is a challenge. At the same by doing a few things well, professionals can increase the chances of making the transition from expert to manager and leader as smooth as possible.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professional people to successfully transition to management and leadership roles.