As we previously wrote about, being a player-coach is hard work. You’re responsible for your own tasks as well as those of your team. A common mistake managers make is to put too much emphasis on their duties as a player (that is, an individual contributor) while letting the develop of their team members slip through the cracks.
Your new role as a player-coach might be one of the most surprising aspects of becoming a manager. Suddenly, the very strength that got you promoted—individual performance—must now take a back seat to the entirely new skill set of a coach. As the Harvard Business Review points out, “You can’t be a good manager if you’re not a good coach.”
You’ve already proved yourself as a great player. Here’s how to improve as a coach:
- Take an interest in people development: Work with each employee to develop custom career development plans for which you can help hold them accountable.
- Set clear and realistic expectations: Let your team know what’s expected of them and, more importantly, why by providing adequate context.
- Ask instead of command: Bosses might boss their team members around, but managers know how to ask their team to step up without sacrificing professionalism.
- Be a pillar of support: Even when you can’t jump on the proverbial field next to them, ask what you can do to help them achieve their goals and make a genuine effort to get them there.