This is an amazing post mate, thanks so much for taking the time to put it together. I can tell that you’ve written that from both good and bad experiences, that’s how we all learn ins’t it!
I’ve managed small teams before, with mixed results. My worst results actually in Public Service and I think the penny dropped after my last one. (I was a contractor on Public environment).
Whenever I’ve been hired by Public, it’s always because they want a private sector person to bring new ideas and initiatives. Whilst this is a true sentiment, the reality on the ground is different.
I’ve had a hard time in the past because I couldn’t fathom the Public Service way of thinking, especially with my direct reports. At every opportunity, they would quote ‘policy’ to me and think I was asking something completely unreasonable (like perhaps being ready to start work at 9.00, rather than rock up at 9.00, change shoes, log in, say hello, make a cup of tea and then be ready at 9.20) and a host of other examples.
But then I realised (after leaving), it was me that was out of synch, I was the fish out of water and whilst what I was asking was reasonable in my head, the reality was that I was tilting at windmills. Lesson learned.
That’s not say I will be letting anyone do what they want but I will be respecting ‘their world’ and realise that’s the world I live in now. (and of course, I also benefit from the very same policies that were being thrown at me last time).
I’m worried less about the actual work, than I am about the stuff like, who gets to book the prime school holiday dates, how to make it fair and maintain coverage, who are the perennial moaners, disruptors, that kind of thing.
I saw a quote about managing the other day which said ‘Cover their back but don’t pick up their slack’, which made sense to me in some ways and seemed challenging in others.
The other thing I don’t know is that if and of my DRs applied for my role, because I can imagine that won’t auger well.