I’ve written a couple of times about the skills I am trying to develop as a manager, but the buried lede in those stories is the fact that being a manager is an entirely different job. It’s sort of like “hey, you were good at doing this- how about you now do an entirely new job so other people can do what you were good at?”
Before this job, I conducted interviews, researched stories, and wrote scripts. Now I spend most of my time assigning other people to those jobs while I work on things like long-term planning, personnel management, and a bunch of crossing i’s and dotting t’s. My skills at making radio and being a journalist only come into play inasmuch as I can provide guidance and feedback to people who are doing those things, while I do something else.
This isn’t a unique situation, by any means. Earlier this year I linked to a piece called “Against Editors“, in which Hamilton Nolan pointed out that most writers who want to advance in their career become editors at which point they basically stop writing. Now I’ve come across this piece by Lindsay Holmwood called “It’s not a promotion- it’s a career change“:
“If you want to do your leadership job effectively, you will be exercising a vastly different set of skills on a daily basis to what you are exercising as an engineer. Skills you likely haven’t developed and are unaware of.”
That isn’t a complaint. I fully expected this to be a new role and one that I wanted to (and am) learning about. I’ve also been given guidance and training, prior to starting the job and ongoing. But it’s still something I’m wrapping my head around- this is a new job, new skills, and I’ve got a lot to learn.
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