brave adj. 1. a. having or displaying courage, resolution or daring; not cowardly or timid. b. (as collective n. preceded by the): the brave. 2. fine; splendid: a brave sight. ~n. 3. a warrior of a North American Indian tribe. ~vb. (tr.) 4. to dare or defy: to brave the odds. 5. to confront with resolution or courage: to brave the storm. –‘bravely adv. –‘braveness n. –‘bravery n. (The Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus)
It takes bravery to be a manager.
The situations you might find yourself in include:
- Confronting a poor attitude in one of your team
- Being the person a furious customer asks to be escalated to
- Meeting with unions if you’re making cuts
- Being the visible, focal point, on the ground, for the public in an emergency and handling the whole range of emotions
- Telling your chief executive what you really think (rather than what you think they want to hear)
- Being caught between what’s and what’s needed (delivering quality services v cutting budgets and roles)
- Stepping up and implementing that big change which is the first of its kind in your organisation
But the thing that requires most bravery?
Looking at yourself. Warts and all.
Asking others to tell you how they feel about working with you.
Getting different perspectives on how you come across.
Having your blind-spots made visible.
Surfacing those things that you may or may not know that have been hidden away.
Operating in ignorance (intentional or otherwise) is safe and comfortable. It requires you to make no effort. You don’t have to put yourself ‘out there’.
That’s fine whilst the only person you’ve had responsibility for is you.
But when you’re a manager you have wider and different responsibilities, to people other than yourself. Operating in your comfort zone doesn’t just affect you, it affects your team too.
To be an effective manager you need to push yourself – enough so you build your strength, not so much your hurt yourself.
A bit like when you’re trying to build muscle strength. If you’re just starting out, you might be on the lowest weight. But by regularly putting in the effort, assessing how you’re doing, getting feedback from others, you’ll gradually progress to lifting heavier and heavier weights.
Asking others to be honest with you about your strengths and flaws is deliberately making yourself vulnerable. It’s a brave thing to do.
And by doing this regularly you’ll learn about yourself and others, build up your mental strength, take the fear out of the unknown and be more able to be the great manager you always wanted to be.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve done as a manager? Why not share in the comments box so that others might learn something from your experience?