During the last two months I had few coachees with pretty much the same problem. They were new to their managerial position and they had somebody in their team with deeper knowledge of a particular subject.
All my coachees mentioned the same concern: they are a bit lost, upset and feel threatened by the fact that they are not perfect in every subject their department covers. Can they still be good leaders?
Dear young managers, during the extensive training you most likely went through, you were taught how to give feedback, draw all those sophisticated hockey stick graphs and many other useful information. But there is one secret most of the experienced managers do not want to share. Even worse! Many of them do not know it themselves.
A manager is not a specialist!
– No, a manager does not have to serve as a replacement for every member of his team.
– Yes, it is more than ok to rely on your team members
– No, you do not have to know the answer to every question in the world. You just have to admit that you do not know. It doesn’t hurt.
There is a unique set of skills that you need to have to become a real manager and they are very different from those of a specialist. Basically a manager and a specialist are two totally different people!
You think it’s obvious? It should be. Unfortunately, it is not.
– one of my coachees on a really senior director position in a headquarter of a bank had to correct his power point presentation 23 times before his boss was finally satisfied. 7 pix left, 4 pix right
– other coachee who is in charge of an important department, has a boss that apparently would like to serve as a press officer and never allows him to present his own plans on managers meetings
– manager of another coachee tries to substitute every person off sick and doesn’t have time to do his job at the end.
Don’t tell me it doesn’t sound familiar!
From a general perspective, to manage means to forecast and to plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate and to control (Henry Fayol).
From your team perspective, to manage means to help your team do their job properly. Motivate, reduce obstacles and create environment that helps them work efficiently. Your people want you to do your job, they will manage their responsibilities. That is actually a great news that someone is better than you.
At the end you are only as good boss as the worst member of your team.