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How stessful is managing a mid-sized team?


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Old 31st May 2018, 7:38 AM   #1
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How stessful is managing a mid-sized team?

I may soon have the opportunity to do this as a step forward in my career (it's all a bit up in the air at the moment). I have never managed people unless you count supervising postgraduate students or delegating tasks to couple of juniors.


This is a team of 15 or so and I am a bit worried that it will be too much stress and won't be worth the pay increase. I am an introvert and not that great with people but at the same time, I am very ambitious and work is a big part of my life.



I am looking for experiences from people that did/do this.
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Old 31st May 2018, 10:06 AM   #2
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I have done that in the past. My team was 22 people and we had morning meetings to delegate tasks. It wasn't too stressful since everyone was doing their work. I had no problem employees to deal with so that was nice. I'm also an introvert that isn't a people person. I'm sure you will do fine.
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Old 31st May 2018, 2:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Eternal Sunshine View Post
I am looking for experiences from people that did/do this.
It depends on the team, the corporate culture and the reasons behind the transition. It's very different taking over a smooth-running ship as opposed to inheriting a group who's previous manager was fired for incompetence or malfeasance. Although, in the latter situation you do learn a lot of things quickly.

What training is the company offering you to prepare for this new role? Here's a checklist I go over with all new managers in my department:

7 Tips To Succeed As A First-Time Manager - Business Insider

Hope this helps...

Mr. Lucky
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Old 1st June 2018, 1:46 AM   #4
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What do you know about the team & the people in it?
Are you aware if any issues, work or personal within the team?

Have you had any management training or do you have any scheduled?
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Old 3rd June 2018, 1:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Eternal Sunshine View Post
I may soon have the opportunity to do this as a step forward in my career (it's all a bit up in the air at the moment). I have never managed people unless you count supervising postgraduate students or delegating tasks to couple of juniors.


This is a team of 15 or so and I am a bit worried that it will be too much stress and won't be worth the pay increase. I am an introvert and not that great with people but at the same time, I am very ambitious and work is a big part of my life.



I am looking for experiences from people that did/do this.

I currently manage a department of 20 people. I will say that when I initially got promoted it was VERY stressful, but after six months or so it got dramatically easier. It was overwhelming at first, and certainly not everybody is cut out for management. I'd say the best managers care both for their people and also the company / work and balance both those priorities. But genuinely caring about your people and their success is what matters.



And that's the payoff. When you see people achieve their potential, it is really rewarding.
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Old 4th June 2018, 3:37 AM   #6
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The team that I manage is smaller than that, but for what it's worth, management is still one of the most difficult parts of my job. The part I struggle with most is maintaining a good balance between making sure your employees don't view you as a pushover and run all over you, but yet keeping up good morale so that people are feeling positive about their job and about working under you. IMO employees run a vast spectrum between ones that are extremely motivated and will essentially manage themselves, to those that are just good enough to not be able to justify kicking out, yet require some tricky management. I am lucky that my team largely falls under the former most of the time, but I've known people that had problems with the latter sort of employee.

Basically, I guess your experience will vary depending on the kind of expectations you set for yourself, the kind of support and authority that your organization gives you, and the people who work under you.
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Old 4th June 2018, 12:13 PM   #7
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The team that I manage is smaller than that, but for what it's worth, management is still one of the most difficult parts of my job. The part I struggle with most is maintaining a good balance between making sure your employees don't view you as a pushover and run all over you, but yet keeping up good morale so that people are feeling positive about their job and about working under you. IMO employees run a vast spectrum between ones that are extremely motivated and will essentially manage themselves, to those that are just good enough to not be able to justify kicking out, yet require some tricky management. I am lucky that my team largely falls under the former most of the time, but I've known people that had problems with the latter sort of employee.
Good advice. Important to remember that you're effectively setting the bar policy-wise by what you allow the least-productive employee to get away with. If "Ernie Employee" is 10 minutes late to work every week, even the most self-motivated co-worker begins to wonder why they're killing themselves to get to work on time...

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Old 4th June 2018, 12:27 PM   #8
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It was definitely challenging in the beginning as you're establishing yourself.

I also currently manage one whole department and I've encountered problems I wasn't expecting, most of the stemming from the fact that I'm younger than all the people I manage and being a woman. So I had to work harder and go a step further to be taken seriously in my role.

Some think I'm too hard on people, but my expectations are always clear and reasonable, I communicate well with them and they can come to me with whatever and I'll do my best to listen and take things into account.

I also want to point out that for a manager - professionalism is crucial. Never cross that line between you and your employees and don't get tempted into becoming friends with them.
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Old 5th June 2018, 7:45 PM   #9
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I managed a small team of 3 for a few years in my previous job and then received a promotion to a larger managerial role, so my team size increased to 10.

Mr. Lucky's and Elswyth's advice is spot on. If the atmosphere and moral is low in your company, as it was where I worked at the time, managing such a team is extremely draining. For my team of three, I worked very hard over the four years I managed them to create a better atmosphere in our little group. For the most part I was successful. But with my new promotion, this team got swallowed up and became a part of the bigger team of 10 and the low morale and politicsthat came with the additional seven employees, made it very hard.

I learned that you really need to love managing and directing people to be happy at this job. I was successful at it, but was not happy (which, to a large degree, could have been related to the environment). I liked seeing the progress and successes of people I managed, but the endless paperwork, admin issues and the lack of any real project participation (as my time was taken up with managerial tasks) was difficult for me. I am early-to-mid career even now, and so at the time, I felt that I am missing out on professional growth in my area and pigeon-holing myself to a management track.

What Elswyth said is very accurate too - if you get even a couple of those 'just good enough to not get kicked out' employees, that would make managing them very stressful.

My advice would be to think through what your career goals are and what would make you happy, and whether you really want to try this, and if so, definitely go for it. It's a unique experience that could be great, and you may realize you like it and are really good at it. Just don't do it only because it's the "next step". You can decide what the best next step is for you. Good luck!
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Old 3rd July 2018, 11:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for all your comments they were very helpful.

It's official now, I have been formally offered and accepted the role.


Last edited by Eternal Sunshine; 4th July 2018 at 2:29 AM..
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Old 4th July 2018, 4:29 AM   #11
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Good luck with the new gig!

As a fellow introvert, and someone who has been managing people for almost 30 years, it can be hard...There are times Id rather no one was there and Ill just do all of their jobs..

Probably the hardest part for you, if you are anything like me, isn't going to be delegating the work and getting the job done.....It will be the interpersonal stuff, the times when you will have to be more of a referee or a therapist. than a manager...

Because I own the business, I have the luxury of hand picking my people and have the final say on everything...In a company where there are multiple levels, and sometimes you have to play the hand you are dealt, Id imagine that would present another set of challenges..

You can do it

TFY
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Old 4th July 2018, 10:27 AM   #12
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Congrats ES!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystyry View Post
I liked seeing the progress and successes of people I managed, but the endless paperwork, admin issues and the lack of any real project participation (as my time was taken up with managerial tasks) was difficult for me. I am early-to-mid career even now, and so at the time, I felt that I am missing out on professional growth in my area and pigeon-holing myself to a management track.
This is something that I struggle with as well. The longer I stay in this role and the more my team expands, I feel like I'm doing less and less of the work I started out doing, and more and more admin/management/people work. Given that I loved the actual work (and it was the whole reason I got into that career to begin with), this grates on me at times. Especially when I see the people working under me increasing in proficiency and skill so much faster than myself, because they're spending 100% of their time doing it whereas I have to divide mine.

However, I did realize that a manager who actually KNOWS the technical side of our work is much, much rarer than someone who can just do the work - so this feels like a worthwhile tradeoff to me.
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