Team Leader: First year reflection

not for students not for graduates not for beginners for professionals for executives

 

The jolly ol’ christmas time brought a lot of something one rarely sees these days: Relaxation. I tried to use this time of year to reflect my doing and undoing of the last several months. The end of the year is perfect because you are drained heavily to family and friend events and get away from your job time. The distance to the rat race is gold, let us talk about how I used the calmer season.

The game of masks

I have to say the last year was not too smooth. I am a group leader the first time in my life with full responsibility of life, work quality, timing and safety for my coworkers and my company. I believe that I did fairly ok considering my lack of experience in this matter. I gained some experience while in my phd time but this is now different. Some people are much older, some are younger and some are much smarter than me and I have to cope with them each day in their own special way. Each character is different, everybody has to be approached on another level. It is somehow having a set of masks that I have to put on from time to time. Yet, I am expected to show my own time of character and class. Because being a leader is about showing the way and direction, you should always stick with yourself.

One year passed. What might 2019 bring?

Peers ping pong

I have to obey to projects but still push technology. It is a difficult job and the learning curve is steep. Many people want many different things and the list of tasks is long, very long. So, from an outsider it looks a bit like jumping taskwise in a ciricle with changing sometimes daily some of the priorities. I call this dynamic leading though one might think that this is quite chaotic, I like to keep the good faith in me that I am knowing where to go as a group and what the goals are.

Learning to say yes

One of the biggest mind set changes I have to work on is to go away from “this is not possible” to the positive view of “it is possible if …”. The general approach here is to be positive and show an attitude that supports decisions made by superiors. However, forcing yourself to be positive is a very diffucult mind set change. It is not the case that I am pessimistic all the time but let’s say that I have been always quite sceptical.

What? When? – How? … Who?

One thing that I did not well was managing tasks. I do not mean this in the way of that the tasks were not done but I have the feeling that I did it somehow wrong. Maybe, I am simply missing a strategy of how to cope with task delegation.

Also, I consider myself as a technical person. It is simple: I like modeling and math and optics and all the good complicated stuff. And yet, I am barely in the situation of having enough time. Not even for one task. Mostly, I can show a proof of concept version to superiors or a colleague and then state: “Please continue with this as a start (…  I have now a meeting).”

And then the task has to be given to someone else. This is one of the toughtest issues I have. I really like taking actions myself. I feel a bit like a dad who has to let his child go into the wild world and cannot save him or her anymore. But I have to credit the person I give tasks to. If you turn it around: Even the most delicate tasks are some kind knighting because I have trust in the person, in his or her skills and ambitions. Without trust, I cannot do my job and I hope that the persons around me understand that.

Not bad, not bad …

Despite all the issues and obstacles, I have to say that I did quite well. One can be better, one can be worse. I think that it has been all in all quite good. My task is to bring structure and order and this is what I have to learn. And that is now more or less everything, even if I was to climb the herarchical ladder even higher, this will be the major task that I have to do from on. So let us train it!

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