Everyone needs a mentor, or coach, who can help you improve by sharing their experiences.
Let’s face it; it is easier to learn something when we can learn from someone who has already gone through this experience and can share what to do and what not to do.
I’ve been very lucky in my career because I’ve had some great mentors who have been instrumental in developing my management skills.
Doesn’t it make sense to minimize the pain of learning everything on your own? You need to make every effort to find a mentor or several experienced managers who can help you transition into a strong manager.
One of my earliest mentors was Bryan Hathcock, the first IBM manager I worked for. Bryan was a good bit older than me and I thought a lot of him as a manager and mentor, , , still do.
He gave me two pieces of advice that I’ve always remembered and tried to reinforce within my life and professional career:
#1 – “Observe others around you and when you see something that works well, incorporate that trait into your way of doing things.”
I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and continue to observe, learn, and incorporate positive examples into my behavior.
#2 – “When you take on a new responsibility, be sure to focus on the requirements of the new job and stop trying to do your last job.”
This is extremely important for IT technical people who want to transition from technical experts and become successful IT managers. You can’t continue to be the technical expert and also be a successful manager.
Managing an organization of any size is a full time job and takes considerable concentration. Letting go of the past and focusing on the new job is a difficult transition for many young managers, , , it certainly was for me, , , but you have to make it happen to be a successful IT manager.
A mentor can help you through this difficult process.