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My job function has changed and I have to transition my old(er) responsabilities to someone else, yet I'm scared of what may happen.

I work for a small company where you have to wear many hats. In my case it included the keeping the client informed, managing the project, designing the solution, and implementing it too. My clients have come to expect that I can take care of them, so they gave us more work, and now we've hired others to help me. That's a good thing.

The part that scares me is changing their expectations of us. It used to be I was dedicated to a small set of projects and can turn around things really quickly. Now I'm managing more projects at a higher/strategic level and letting others do the day-to-day implementation.

I am worried that though we will deliver what is requested on time, my clients will not get the same service, quality, and speed they used to get.

How do I alleviate my fears so I don't micromanage everyone?

Thank you for taking time and I appreciate any thoughts and ideas.

ctomasi's picture

While I haven't transitioned a management position to another person, I have transitioned other previous positions to other people. The key is training and trust. You can pass on as much experience as you can via training, but you have to trust that they will do the job to the best of their abilities. They won't always do it the same as you did, but you may find they do certain things better. You may find that you were a high "D" or "C" and the customers may enjoy the service from a high "I".

Just some food for thought.

Mark's picture

Well, there's an easy answer, but I'll try to do better than that.

The easy answer is that only you can alleviate your own fears, and fear is an inefficient motivator of effective management behavior.

Now, for some thoughts.

One of the HUGE problems for managers in your situation is that the only way they can "sense" success or "feel good about a client" is to actually be involved, to hear what the client is saying (because this is the only way you "know" that things are okay, because this is the only way you've ever learned it).

THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE ANYMORE. You're now only going to be hearing, probably, problems and crises. YOU HAD THOSE BEFORE TOO... but you also worked through them, and you could feel things getting better. Not anymore.

Remember this: if your boss started doing YOUR job, you'd feel mistrusted and diminished. If you're comfortable doing that to your team, knock yourself out.

That said, I'd suggest five things.

1. Sit down with your boss and either ask for guidance or have a collaborative session where you agree on what your new role is, and what tasks are most likely to lead to success in those key areas.

2. Schedule your time around those key tasks, reducing the chance that old responsibilities will be able to stay rooted in your schedule.

3. Meet with each of your directs, and describe THEIR responsibilities - those that USED to be yours. Tell them what you expect, and that you used to handle these tasks, and what you consider to be success (without telling them how - that's micromanagement). Also set up with them some kind of reporting, to have them let you know what's going on. Weekly meetings are fine (DUH!), regular emails, etc. Whatever you like that satisfies you.

4. Tell your directs your concerns, and ask them to be candid with you when they sense that you're micromanaging. Share with them your NEW responsibilities, so they'll know what you SHOULD be working on. When the first one tells you you're butting in, don't bite his head off.

5. Be clear with each direct what success is on projects and with clients. Define it specifically, and ask them to report on those measures.

If they're meeting the metrics and you stay involved, there will be THREE negative consequences:

a. They'll be angry at you.
b. You'll feel guilty.
c. Your other duties will suffer.

That usually keeps promotees' hands out of the old cookie jar. ;-)

Hope this helps!

Mark

Mark's picture

Another thought:

First: Chuck, nice post, well done sir.

We will soon be rolling out a cast on how to quit a job, and it includes a recommendation to stay around long enough to brief your successor.

Write some notes about the job, what you've learned, who they need to know, how to interact with key customers, what the customers kids' names are, where they like to eat, etc., etc..

They will LOVE this... and it will help you start letting go.

Mark

akmolteni's picture

Mark and Chuck, thanks for your responses. They are right on the money because I feel more confident that things are going to be ok. I'm looking forward to Monday.

Other thought stop help others

1) You need to be patient and work with that person. Think back to how long it took you to take on new responsabilities. You can't expect another person to be your duplicate on the first day. You also don't want the person to be just like you, you want them to be better.

2) Tell your clients about the change in responsabilities. When you've built up a relationship with your customers, they should trust that you will continue to take care of them.