If there’s one thing I think most of us recognise, it’s that situation where you realise that you’re not the newbie any more, and indeed that people are looking to you to lead – and you look round for a more adult-y person, but there aren’t any so you’re it. Yeah, had one of those today.
To give some context I usually am the one to whom people defer so being “the adult” isn’t exactly new. Whether that’s as a manager, or a leader, or DM, or Dom it’s usually me making a decision or giving approval, or well you get the idea.
Even the opening situation described above isn’t exactly new either. It tends to happen every month or so in one context or another. I blame the silver in my beard I think.
Today’s revolved around a conversation with one of my peers about someone seconded to a position recently. Among other things, we talked about areas that some quiet words may be needed about – to help keep pace with the demands of the job and certain situations.
Halfway through, it dawned on me that I was being agreed with, and was leading the conversation. As the other person has been in post longer than I have there is usually an expectation of leaning in on that experience, but not this time. This time I was the adulty adult being asked for experience and guidance.
What’s the problem? Well, nothing and something. Having my opinion taken as equal weight is a good thing, as is recognition of skills and experiences. What quails is the inner child that doesn’t like having expectations put on him because it reminds me of past pressures and mistakes. It’s that very young place that lacks self confidence even as adult me takes ownership and takes charge – despite, or perhaps because, there’s no one else willing or able to step up.
Perhaps that’s why it felt so important later in the day to acknowledge, congratulate, and thank an apprentice for stepping up, taking ownership, and resolving a situation (with one or two prompts). Seeing them straighten in their chair where they’d been bowed with worry they’d screwed up made my day.