Leading When You Don\’t Want To

That sounds like a self-help book title. Maybe I\’ll write it some day.

This has happened to me recently, though. I was asked if I wanted to be promoted to my previous boss\’s position. I recognized that no one else in our group was really ideal for it, so I accepted without a lot of thought. But it\’s had more trials than I expected. For example:

  1. I have less formal education than all of my supervises. That\’s awkward.
  2. I\’m younger than the two that I immediately inherited. That\’s awkward.
  3. I have an innate fear of becoming Dilbert\’s boss. That\’s not awkward, but it\’s unfun.
    1. Unfun should be a word.
  4. I regularly have people asking me to make decisions that I haven\’t felt prepared to make.

That\’s about the size of it. On Thursday of last week, in the midst of dealing with an issue with one of the most experienced, oldest people I supervise, I kind of snapped. I had about a 15 minute case of histrionics with my amazingly patient boss, and got to watch him try different tactics with someone he expected to behave better.

Anyway, though it wasn\’t fun for either of us, I think it was ultimately valuable for me (at least). I realized while talking to him that I was A) Whining. That\’s really an uncool realization. B) Not really doing as bad a job as I thought. C) I was making excuses. And D) If I were in the military, and I had been given this position, it would be totally inappropriate for me to attempt to get out of it. \”Requested and required\” is a statement that I\’ve heard forever in a different context, and it\’s one I need to keep in mind. In a sense, that\’s what\’s going on here. Trumpkin going for the kids is another. There\’s a time for giving advice and a time for taking orders. That time has come.

More to say about this, but that\’s a start.

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