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Welcome To Management June 23, 2009

Posted by Tim Rodgers in Management & leadership.
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I first moved from an individual contributor role to a management position some years ago, but I still vividly recall my first month in the new job. I felt a strong obligation to wrap up some reports and assorted paperwork from my previous position, which was in a completely different organization, while rapidly coming up to speed on my responsibilities for the new group. I remember one day in particular when I was sitting at my desk pulling together a technical white paper using data and other information from multiple sources, something that really required a lot of focused attention. All day long I was interrupted by little questions or news items from subordinates, peers or superiors; all looking for answers or confirmations or clarifications. I felt myself getting more and more frustrated with each successive walk-up or phone call, unable to concentrate on my report.

Somewhere near the end of that day it finally hit me: this is what management is like. It’s not characterized by long, uninterrupted stretches of quiet time. It’s interrupt-driven, often zig-zagging from one issue to another, typically-unrelated issue. Of course it’s not healthy for the team to become completely dependent on the manager for all decision-making, but the team is not going to become more confidently self-sufficient if the manager is isolated and unavailable. Every contact with the team is an opportunity to clarify expectations and align priorities. I’d rather err on the side of too many interruptions, to the point of making myself more accessible through management-by-wandering-around (MBWA).

Yes, managers still occasionally need periods of quiet time for reports and presentations and budgeting and performance reviews. I guess I’ve learned to work in shorter bursts of productivity, accepting the fact that interruptions are part of the job and not expressing impatience when they inevitably happen.

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Comments»

1. Time for more MBWA (Management By Walking Around) - SmartPlanet - July 15, 2009

[…] Rogers, a management practitioner and active blogger, shares this epiphany: When he first moved into management, he felt overwhelmed by constant interruptions from his team […]

timrodgers - July 15, 2009

Thanks for the shout-out.

2. project management processes - April 8, 2013

Generally I do not learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me
to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me.

Thanks, very great article.


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