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Billing Manager to Board, Now What Do I Do?!

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by Catherine Kennedy

11 months ago

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I’ve had the most incredible opportunities during my almost 12 years with people2people, having joined in 2006. I’ve been fortunate enough to progress from a green as green rookie, through a range of leadership roles, and most recently to the NSW Board of Directors. I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, and the chance to continually learn new skills and stretch myself.

My latest career move has definitely been the biggest stretch of all, as I battle my natural instinct to work ‘in’ the business and not ‘on’ it. I have to check myself, sometimes a few times a day, that my responsibility is no longer with the ‘doing’, but rather it is to chart the course for the future, and provide the right support, structure and strategy for my team to be successful.

So why am I so inclined to jump back in to the ‘doing’?

Partly, I think it’s because it’s what I know. After years in variations of a role which I knew backwards, I have not, for quite a while anyway, been faced with situations which are completely new to me. I have been used to applying a catalogue of experience, which I could then file through, to decide my course of action. My new role requires a different skillset (and mindset!) and whilst I back myself completely to do this job well, I haven’t done it before, so I naturally revert to what I know.

If I dig deeper, I know it’s also about my ego. I know I am a good recruiter, and I like to show it. I still get a buzz from closing the deal, and sometimes I can’t resist jumping back on the desk just to show those around me that I’ve still got it.

So really it comes down to vulnerability. I am much more vulnerable in my new role because I am new to it, and I will inevitably need to learn from my mistakes on the job, just as I did as a rookie recruiter all those years ago (I assure you, I had some shockers!).

But do you know what? Vulnerability is a very powerful tool in leadership. Some of the best leaders are the ones who admit they don’t know it all and allow their teams to see their humanity. So, whilst I am still finding my feet in my new position, I am resolute that I will resist the temptation to revert to my old role. Sure I’ll be more vulnerable than I’ve been for years and will no doubt make lots of mistakes, but I reckon I’ll kick some pretty big goals too! 

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