You’ll never be 10x until you’re comfortable donning “the other hat.” If you hold dear an image of yourself as primarily the talent or primarily the management, switching hats will likely not come easily.
Even those 10xers who are individual contributors by choice still need to interact in ways that require management skills. There’s just no getting around the need for two hats.
The great news is, by being the manager for someone whose career you genuinely care about, you are receiving a hands-on education in what constitutes receiving strong management. The better you can manage, the better you can be managed. You’ll begin to know the shape and shade of good advice—how it’s proffered and what it sounds like. You’ll be able to build trust by conveying your skin in the game. You’ll experience the power of the Third Party Effect firsthand, and we’re willing to bet you’ll develop a craving for having a third party of your own, advocating for you in the clinch. Armed with the tools of management, you’ll learn just how to get your own needs as a talent met.
One of the key reasons being able to switch hats is so important nowadays is the rapid rate of change across industries, caused in no small part by digitization. Where there is instability, there is a heightened need for flexibility. First and foremost, the company that has your back today may not even exist tomorrow. Should you find yourself out of a gig, you’ll be forced to reframe yourself as talent when you enter the open market. This is true even if what you’re most talented at is management.
Second, a new tradition of doing more with less has taken hold of the contemporary workplace. Smaller work teams with greater responsibilities have to deliver more, faster, and with smoother synergy. This means that every practitioner, no matter how much they enjoy their alone time, will have to work with and manage others.
To add to the general atmosphere of transience, there are approximately 750,000 open tech jobs. Contrast this with the jarring fact that colleges are only graduating approximately 56,000 students with computer science degrees, a number that has grown by a mere 7 percent in the last five years. As Quartz reports, there are “almost 10 times more US computing jobs open right now than there were students who graduated with computer science degrees”2—a peculiar statistic when you note that computer science is the highest-paid college degree for new employees, with a median base salary of $70,000.
Rapid changes in the marketplace mean greater instability and the need for more agility. Being able to wear two hats makes you twice as valuable. Managers who can act as talent as well as talent who can act as management create a positive atmosphere where maximum growth is possible.
How 10x are you? Take a quiz now to find out, plus you’ll receive the introduction and first chapter of the new book Game Changer: How to be 10x in the Talent Economy.