"OK," I reflect, "I'm probably not as good as I think I am at managing." Allow me to posit a few additional ideas along these lines that make me even more worried about my performance:
- humans, including first-year uber managers, tend to systematically overestimate the knowledge they possess, and underestimate risks associated with making decisions;
- being able to realistically introspect on your skills, biases, mistakes and successes can be incredibly challenging, especially when done alone; and
- "Humility" isn't just a Guiding Principle because it sounds nice and polite.
So, what should we do? Let us know if you have ideas about or have experimented with strategies to better hone your intrapersonal skills.
A few things that I've done (or, at least, have thought "that would probably be helpful if I actually went and did it") are:
- Don't just file your performance review away. Go back to it periodically. Write out a simple action plan for the next month to improve in one area. Proactively get feedback on areas you struggle in.
- Tell others what you're working on. Sometimes just verbalizing what it is you need help with will (a) help others help you and (b) make you feel more accountable to improve in that area.
- Find a no-holds-barred friend. If you can, latch on to folks who are willing to give blunt, realistic feedback and who interact with you often enough to have something to say.
- After Action Reports and diaries. Get in the habit of reviewing and reflecting all of the time. An easy way to do this is to do reviews of your large projects (bonus: in addition to improving your project you'll likely learn something about yourself). Or, if you're disposed to the written word, a manager's diary may help you look back and review how you diagnosed--correctly or incorrectly--past situations.
- Don't wait. Don't wait for your manager or someone else to do this for you. You own You, Inc., as Chris would say.
[ht AK-47, aka Andrew K]