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Leading isn't easy

Published on Saturday, 06 Sep 2014
Mathew Gollop

Moving up the career ladder and progressing to "management" is a common professional goal. The change in title, status and salary are obvious upsides, but with this shift comes a new set of responsibilities, many of which lurk beneath the surface.

From the outside looking in, management can often seem easy. As an employee, it is easy to see a leader's faults and overlook the value that they bring. Becoming a manager yourself often brings some shocking realisations.

The generally accepted advice on being a new manager (either in your first management role or on entering a new company) is that the first three months should be a period of assessment and planning. Making changes in this time is unwise because you do not yet fully understand the landscape, resources and perceptions that surround you.

Driving "improvements" quickly is particularly tempting when you have been promoted internally and have preconceived ideas about how things can change for the better. Resist this temptation while you determine how the broader business goals align with your team's output and you take the political temperature of your new position.

Finding the balance between being liked and respected can be challenging. This is hardest if you have been promoted internally and your peers are now your subordinates. The best advice here is that there are no managers that are successful purely on the basis of their friendships with their team members.

As a manager, you must make a clear delineation between what is personal and what is professional. Ultimately, you need to establish the view from your team that you are fair, which will breed trust. From here, anything is possible.


Mathew Gollop, group managing director, ConnectedGroup


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