It’s time to listen when it’s critical to step aside in your current role and do something you are good at, love and enjoy. – An experience by Mark Epp, Management Consultant Director, ICF Certified Professional Coach, Talent Plus Inc.
It’s liberating to say out loud that I am not a good manager of people!
Here is the story of how I took responsibility for the issues I created as a lousy manager and resolved to do what I love to do for my own sake, and for the sake of the colleagues I admire and work with every day.
About 10 years ago, I was asked to take on a Client Strategist position. As I was engaged and successful in my current role, there was some trepidation to accept this promotion. Yet, I felt I probably had the talent to do the job with excellence and our company really needed me to take it on. After speaking with my wife and knowing how much I align with the mission of our organization, I reluctantly agreed.
A Client Strategist role involves a continued focus on growing the client’s implementation of the company’s solutions year over year. This is a critical role that supports the client’s journey to create a talent-based organization. Helping clients understand the investment necessary from them to step into the next rung on the ladder of success in their partnership with Talent Plus is essential for organizations to realize the best possible return on their investment in our services. Strategic planning, spreadsheets, year-over-year client implementation — you get the picture.
Frankly, this job description is not my strong suit. I’m a world-class implementor. I live for awakening executives and employees alike to their natural talents and abilities, enabling them to manifest their potential and contribute with full engagement toward their own success and the success of their company. As a management consultant, I woke up every day excited to connect with and find the heart of every employee and organization I worked with to ensure their success with our solutions.
“We have the power to change our destiny through intentional, courageous action, but we must own where our talent lies and where it does not.”
What happened over about an 8-month period in the client strategist role created intense anxiety and a deep lack of confidence in myself. One of my top talents is focus, but how I applied that talent in that role was to micro-manage both my colleagues and my clients. I wrote long, overly detailed emails to the clients I was responsible to support. It was nearly impossible for me to delegate to the client teams and I stood over the backs of those I had worked with wonderfully a few months ago and began to lose their respect.
Here’s what saved me and what brought me back to what I do with excellence:
A colleague I’d worked with in my management consultant role (a truly remarkable client success manager with one of our biggest clients) came into my office, sat down and said, “Mark your intensity as a client-strategist is making me physically ill. I can’t work with you any more like this!”
As shocked as I was to hear her words, in my heart I knew she was absolutely right. She was courageous enough to say what I’d been saying to myself for 8 months. This was the wrong role for me, and I knew it. I took immediate action to right the wrongs I had created. This was my responsibility, no one else’s.
My mentor, our co-chairperson, agreed to coach me through this dilemma and we reviewed my fear of disappointing her and how to get back on track. She said, “Do what you love to do at Talent Plus, move forward toward your greatest potential and contribute that talent to our organization. That’s what we do at Talent Plus. That’s where you will have the greatest satisfaction and create the most value for yourself and for Talent Plus.” What a compassionate and caring directive taken on her part to propel me forward rather than letting me wallow in the angst I was currently creating and experiencing.
Within a week, we had transferred my clients to a client strategist who was right for that role, and I leaped forward toward the work I’ve always loved to do at Talent Plus. Now, after 18 years, doing what I love to do every day has eliminated the anxiety, made me healthier and more confident, and renewed the relationships with my colleagues and clients that were being lost when I was in a job I was not meant to do.
My journey has continued as a Management Consultant Director and has allowed me to capitalize on the trusted relationships I’ve created around the world, expanded my creativity, and focused my growth within this role becoming an International Coaching Federation-certified professional coach.
We have the power to change our destiny through intentional, courageous action, but we must own where our talent lies and where it does not.
What’s the moral?
Do what you love to do, fully engaged in knowing you can be successful in that role and grow in that lane with excellence. Be better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today. Otherwise, what’s the point?
As Dr. William Hall said, “What would the world be like if everyone did what they were good at and enjoyed?” What would the evolution of your company be like if everyone did a little more of what they are good at and enjoyed?
Respectfully, Mark Epp
Mark is the Management Consultant Director at Talent Plus where he aligns The Science of Potentiality ® to each client’s unique needs and support their growth. He brings potential to life through the practical application of our science and enables employees to prosper and organizations to succeed.
“There is nothing more satisfying than witnessing the exponential growth of an employee when they discover and express their talent.”
Talents: Ego Drive, Focus, Individualized Approach, Persuasion, Relationship