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3 Things That Change When You Have a Direct Report

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When you start out in the working world, you’re just concerned about doing your job. You’re probably at the lower end of the totem pole, just trying to complete all of the tasks that come your way to the best of your ability.

At least, that’s how I was. Until I had a direct report.

1. You second guess a lot of the things you say in one-on-one meetings.

I never realized how much I hung onto every word of good and bad feedback my boss gave me during our one-on-one meetings until I had to host my own one-on-one’s. Sometimes I feel like I provide good feedback, but there are also meetings where I feel like my thoughts were running away from me, and I wasn’t being clear. Do your best to prep for these meetings like you would for a meeting with your own manager. Try to have a few talking points or specific questions you’d like to ask.

2. You and your direct report are partly dependent on each other to progress.

One of the strangest things about having a direct report is that in some ways, you’re now responsible for her future. Sure, her work has to shine and improve, but you have to give her the guidance to make her into that future person. You have to tell her what to work on and where to grow. Most importantly, you become a sponsor for her when it comes to promotion time. Not only do you have to speak to your strengths, but now you have to speak to someone else’s.

As part of this, your ability to manage others also goes into your performance review. Your work is no longer the only thing you’re measured on.

3. Your job is no longer just about the work you produce.

Having a direct report means that your job is no longer just the tasks you have to get done on a daily basis. You can’t just go through your to-do list, but you have to be available if someone else has questions, just like your manager is to you. I’ve had some excellent bosses, and one of the things I love most is their ability to be available and present when I have questions. Most bosses are good at being available, but great bosses can really stop what they’re doing to help talk you through your issues.

Photo: Tom Merton / Getty Images


Bosses #Management Career Advice
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Amanda Carey
Amanda Carey

This is so true! I've recently realized all of these things too since managing my first direct report in the fall. Great article.

Thanks Amanda!

Melissa Palmer Kollasch
Melissa Palmer Kollasch

I have found number 3 can be the biggest struggle for new people managers, especially if the person was a top performing individual contributor.

Thanks Sarah Mitus for great write up in your article. Keep doing great job.

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This was an adjustment but a good one. I learned that both parties grow as long as the desire to work is there and there is clear and consistent communication.

This advice is very much on point! I've had some great managers and some not so great managers. I wish I could send this to all my no so great managers.

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