Managing Nonprofits with Confidence

“What do you love about being a manager?”

When I ask that question of new managers, sometimes they think for a long time about how to answer. Many managers ascend to leadership positions without fully understanding a fundamental truth: that leadership and management is a career change, and the skills and behaviors that made them successful individual contributors will not necessarily make them good managers and admired leaders. There are some other fundamental truths about management that new leader-managers rarely get told before they step into their first people-management position:

- Leadership can be lonely. Many relationships change when you move into management. Coworkers who become direct reports can no longer be friends; peer leaders may now see themselves as your rivals, even if previously they were your mentors. People you formerly vented to about a bad day can no longer serve as confidants.

- No book has yet been written that gives you the perfect words to say when an employee comes to you in despair over a loved one’s terminal illness, or struggling through a tough divorce, or coping with a child’s addiction. Many managers hear more about their employees’ personal problems than they ever anticipated – and many are at a loss with how to respond in a way that shows empathy, but respects boundaries.

- For achievers, getting to the top of an organization can be bewildering and disorienting. Once you get where you were intending to go, where do you go from there? Career paths and next steps can be unclear. And what if you don’t like being a manager? What happens then? Feelings of uncertainty, confusion, loneliness, and fear are common for new managers. So are feelings of accomplishment, exhilaration, satisfaction and triumph. And it’s not uncommon to go through that entire range of emotions in a single day. However you feel as a new manager – know you’re not alone. Management is a journey where every day is a chance to grow, improve, and succeed. Many managers find management the most rewarding career they could possibly have – and an amazing way to serve a community by enabling and guiding the work of others.

Learning some management fundamentals can help you find the joy in your new management career. Exploring your values, learning a simple method for coaching employees, and understanding where you can get support and resources for your management journey can help you Manage with Confidence – today, and in the future. Join us February 28th for our "Managing with Confidence" training to learn more about leadership development resources, including mentoring, free online courses and books that can help them in their leadership development journey. Register now: 


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