Great Employees Don't Always Equal Great Managers

I often see a number of people getting promoted within the company, which isn’t always a bad thing. But, then again, sometimes it is a bad thing. It’s not always in the company’s or the individual’s best interest to offer or accept the promotion. These individuals may complete the best work, but they may not be equipped to manage and lead. It takes more than skill to manage others. I’ve learned that first-hand.

As I was beginning to climb my way up the corporate ladder, ready to make a name for myself, I realized that I’m a horrible teacher. Awful. Whenever a new task was given to me, I just did it myself. It was easier than trying to explain how to draft a letter for an attorney to the new assistant. It was easier because I knew all of the ins and outs of this attorney’s intricacies. And, I knew to NEVER use Times New Roman font (that’s a really big deal, you know?). It was just easier - for me.

But, what I didn’t realize at the time is that it really wasn’t easier. It wasn’t easier for the new assistant to sit back and not learn anything. And, it certainly wasn’t easier for me because my plate was heaping with projects that we’re just easier for me to complete than delegate. That mentality pushed my deadlines, my stress level, and my ability to complete everything at the level of excellence I always demand of myself. I was becoming rushed in my work, while my counterpart was scraping the bottom of her desk drawers to find work to do. It wasn’t easier. And, I was wrong.

To be a manager, it takes more than just skill. I’m great at my job and my responsibilities. But, I wasn’t so great at teaching or delegating. It has always been hard for me to delegate my work. Will it be done to my level of excellence? Will others’ critique it poorly? Will it reflect poorly upon me? I could go on forever. And, finally, I had to learn to trust. Will it be done to my level of excellence? No, probably not at first. But, then I will teach. Will others’ critique it poorly? Yes, more than likely, but that’s how you learn. Will it reflect poorly upon me? No, it won’t because it’s about how you react to it and solve the problem, not how it’s created.

So, before you jump into a management position or offer an employee one, be sure to teach them to be a manager beforehand. It’s one thing to be great at your job, but it’s another to be able to guide, motivate, and mentor others into being great at their own.


Laura Schneider, CAP is an Administrative Mastermind, who teams up with small business owners and solopreneurs to take care of all their “desk work” so they can focus on the parts of their business that LIGHT THEM UP. She's the administrative ying to their entrepreneurial yang.

She adores anything from social media, event coordination to client experience training and proof/editing material.

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