From Maker to Manager

This is the first post in an ongoing series about the transition from maker to manager.1

A leadership story I’ve been thinking through lately is the transition from “maker” to “manager.” The story is a common one: a maker founds a company and is involved in the day-to-day hands-on work of the business, whether that’s sales or marketing or writing code. When a company is small and all hands are on deck, leadership flows naturally out of the founders because they are setting an example in what they work on and how, which is visible to everyone.

As a company grows, though, the leaders move from making to leading teams of makers. Mileage varies based on any number of variables (personality, communication style, capacity for complexity, etc.).

Here are the things that I’m learning as I make this transition myself:

  • Leadership doesn’t come as naturally, no matter your personal aptitude
  • The work I do isn’t always visible by default
  • Judging personal productivity is a very different game
  • Listening becomes critically important
  • Staying connected to the other founders of the company becomes more difficult and more important

1. 1. You can see all of the posts in the series, From Maker to Manager, here.

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