I work in a manufacturing company in an IT role. My role itself would have you believe that I am in a managerial role, but unfortunately, I am severely unequipped to handle such a role. I lack the confidence and the knowledge to handle a role like this and I also am anxious about how far I can go with my role responsibilities.
Expectations of me:
My boss wants me to take a more "proactive approach" in my role. He wants me to "look for areas of improvement" and actively take part in "improving how things are done here".
- I am used to being the "behind the screens" guy. Be down in the dirty side of IT and not worry about any accolades or honorable mentions. Someone initiates the project, someone comes up with the budget, I am asked to do the programming, someone deploys it, someone receives accolades. I am mostly not mentioned or noticed.
- I work from home. My role in its entirety is working from home. This is not a special circumstance due to Coronavirus.
- We have manufacturing plants all over the country and I do not work from or visit any of them (due to Coronavirus).
- My previous job involved me working from a plant (in a different manufacturing company) and walking the floor, talking to people, learning about how they do things. This helps me with providing insights on improvements. I have a track record of doing this. So they are expecting me to do this here now.
Issues and questions pertaining to the problems above:
- Being a behind the screen guy, I have a LOT of confidence in programming and technology. But as a behind the screen guy, I have VERY LITTLE confidence in reaching out to folks on business process topics. I also don't know when I am crossing a line by a question or a meeting or an email. How do I know how far I can go?
- I don't have many connections or "friends" that I can just reach out to. My boss is available for me, a few plant IT heads are easy to access, but it is very restricted who I can reach out to.
- Since going to the site is restricted, I am not sure how I can be brought up to speed on the activities in their site.
- Without knowing what is happening in the plants, I find it hard to reach out to find room for improvement. I feel like I am being a hindrance rather than help to these people, asking trivial questions about their site that they simply do not have the time to answer. I am told by family that this is just me and anyone would be happy to talk to me about this. But how do I overcome this mental obstacle?
My ultimate question is, how do I proactively involve myself in improving how things are done, given my circumstances? Do I schedule monthly meeting invites to plant IT heads and discuss their current projects? Do I discuss their current shortcomings and figure out what I can do to fix it? Do I schedule one-on-one meetings or should I have a mass meeting with all plant heads? I do have this idea wherein I create an Excel file and have the plant heads fill in the some basic information about their plant shortcomings and I can create a Power BI report to have a pretty front-end that neatly outlines all the shortcomings of their site. The current monthly meetings always discuss what they are doing, not what they are NOT. Would this be a good idea?
I would like some guidance and some advice on how to bravely take a managerial action that engages everyone and not have them sigh and go "oh good another monthly meeting".