How I learned to stop worrying and love program managing (an introverts guide)

When I started Program Managing instead of business analayst-ing it was a tough transition. Going from sitting alone and thinking how to solve a problem to trying to coordinate (way too many!) other people trying to solve a problem was… a lot!

I’ve made some mistakes along the way, but am really enjoying and growing in the role so I wanted to share some tips that have helped me.

1. Realize you are NOT responsible for everything. Have clear agreements and due dates with your stakeholders who ARE responsible for getting things done. And let go of that internal pressure and stress you put on yourself.

2. Find a presentation style that suits you. Be respectful and professional but also be authentic – people know when you are trying to be “corporate-y”.

3. Request feedback constantly from everyone you work with on what you can do to improve. It will make you better AND help them know that you truly care.

4. Find programs focused on leadership and communication to grow – like Toastmasters.

Here is an image of a plant to show “growth” and break up the text.

5. LISTEN to the people involved. You are a source of change and stress for them – a little bit of grace and kindness, and an authentic desire to understand their concerns will reap dividends for your program.

6. Don’t COMMAND, Partner. Their success is literally your success- you are in it together.

7. Respect their time. Don’t ask 5 people the same question, and make sure each meeting is thought out and planned ahead of time.

8. Have fun. Programs can last months (or years!) causing burnout. Some fun along the way can help everyone keep going.

9. RESPECT the knowledge and contributions everyone brings to the table. Make sure you set up everyone you work with for success.

I hope these tips help you out! Writing this list was a good reminder for myself as well.

A manager once told me taking on a new role or responsibility is like a baby bird leaving the nest – to grow and thrive you have to be willing to take that first step. Learning to manage a program is a great tool to add to your skill set!

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