Joseph Grenny, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of VitalSmarts, a company that does corporate training and leadership development, interviewed new supervisors, CEOs, and political leaders in an article said that the new responsibilities brought in significant changes into their lives, some of whom were still unsure why they accepted the new position.
Renowned New York restaurateur and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group Danny Meyer likens the responsibility of being a manager as a “gift of fire.” Fire, as he explains it, has many uses. It can provide warmth and comfort, illuminate darkness, but it can also burn. Understanding the power of this gift is crucially important before stepping into the arena.
Count the cost
Although getting into a bigger role may be exciting, new responsibilities will require you to surrender the familiar. What are you going to lose when you accept this job?
“When you become the boss, your peers are no longer peers. Also, your new peers may be less to your liking. Examine them closely before moving up to their level,” explains Grenny about losing your peers, one aspect professionals regret when they accepted an offer to become a manager.
Another aspect he pointed out was losing simplicity. When placed in a managerial position, you leave the comforts of taking on easy tasks, and enter into a world of complexity, of bigger challenges. It is no longer the benefit of a few, but the benefit of the whole company you’re now putting into consideration.
If before you fought about pushing a certain project, when you’re the boss, you will have to consider the time, cost, and all other factors. Decisions you didn’t have to make when you were just part of the team.
Taking on a higher position is a scary task. And you shouldn’t be trusted with fire if you’re not afraid of what lies ahead. The worry of failing, the pressures, and stresses that comes with this power is unavoidable. But this is a normal feeling that you should acknowledge and learn from.
“Authenticity — first with yourself and then with others — is the path to legitimate serenity,” states Grenny.
There will always be people smarter and better than you, and Grenny says to accept this and not dwell on your deficiencies, but instead, learn from them, and focus on your strengths.
Review your reasons
What are the reasons you want this job? Is it ambition or contribution?
If you focus too much on having that potent power, your leadership will then be all about you, and you will fail to nurture your team’s trust. You don’t want to be one of those horrible bosses, do you?
Meyer further explains that the gift of fire isn’t the power over your team, but power to help each other and the company to grow.
Taking that leap into a higher position is both an exciting and terrifying job, but if you accepted it for the right reasons, you’ll find it ultimately satisfying in the end.
Ready for this challenge? Start reflecting on this, and learn more about how you can be a good leader.