As a leader, your job should change every six months even if you stay put

My latest in Quartz…

Leadership roles evolve, especially through periods of transition. As a leader, I have found my own role changing as challenges on the team change—around every four months I realize everything is fundamentally different, and the way I need to spend my time changes, too.

Recently the number of my direct reports more than doubled, and I added two different roles reporting to me. This was a very obvious instance of change, and I opened up a discussion on our team blog about what that meant. I confessed to certain things I had noticed about myself when I felt overwhelmed, and asked them four questions:

– What do you see as the most important thing(s) I do (generally)?
– What are the most impactful things I do for you specifically?
– What is one thing you think I should stop doing?
– What is the biggest area of your work where you want/need me to support you?

But even when it’s not as obvious, your job as a manager can still evolve. Maybe you used to have mostly new managers reporting to you, and now they’ve found their feet, meaning you can be less involved and spend your time on something else instead. Maybe your team had some kind of pressing problem—a big project with a looming deadline or bad releases that needed to be fixed—but now it’s on track, so what do you focus on next?

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