In many respects, the most difficult task facing a new editor is to make the transition from being a member of staff-whose work is directed, evaluated and supported-to being a manager. But it has to be done. Except on the smallest publications, an editor can achieve nothing of consequence without the active support and co-operation of the editorial team. Creating that team, bringing out its full potential and managing its development, is something for which most editors are unprepared.
As a new editor you should be aware that, from now on, anything you say, good or bad, will receive twice the attention it did when you were a mere colleague. People will laugh at your jokes, for instance, not because they are funny but because of who you are. A harsh word will mean much more to the person receiving it than it does to you, and the same goes for words of praise.
Those whose work you are now required to direct may be either friends and close colleagues or complete strangers. In the latter case, it is important to meet each member of your new team quickly, and individually. This will give you an opportunity to provide reassurance, even a modicum of flattery, but also to put across your drive and ideas. You must also assess the characters of those you are about to work with, making a note of your impressions. At the end of your first week, and then again after a month, look again at what you wrote and reconsider.
Anyone who is on the brink of becoming an editor will have had plenty of opportunity to watch other editors at work. There has always been a distinction between those editors who spend most of their time out of the office, meeting people, promoting the magazine, and so on, leaving the day-to-day running of the magazine to someone else, and those editors who stay in the office, apparently doing everything.
There has been a tendency in the past for editors to be dictators, albeit sometimes benevolent ones. The analogy is with people working in the arts, film directors and choreographers for instance, whose vision has to be achieved through the work of many hands. There a dictatorial attitude is expected and tolerated, for the greater good. There is, perhaps, some sense in