Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to manager. Now what? The transition from individual contributor to manager is one of the most difficult transitions you’ll make in your career. In addition to being difficult, it can be awkward as well. After all, yesterday you were his or her friend and coworker, and today you are everyone’s boss.
One of the important things to remember is that in this new role it’s not simply about doing more, or doing things faster. As a new manager you have to completely change the way you approach your work. In addition, there is a huge learning curve. One of the mistakes people make when they get promoted is forgetting how much time it actually takes to learn the new role. This learning curve automatically takes away any time that you could still do individual contributor work. It can also feel uncomfortable because it forces you, in essence, to be a new employee. This means that you spend a great deal of time asking questions, observing people who were once your peers, and re-learning what everyone does.
Once you have spent the appropriate amount of time learning and observing, it’s time to get down to the business of actually managing. One of the best things in new manager can do is schedule one-on-one meetings with each of your new employees. During this meeting your job is to listen. learn what your people are doing, what energizes them, and in the way of them doing a good job. As hard as it may be, this is also a good chance for you to ask what the previous manager did well. Too often, new managers are so anxious to make their mark, that they completely forget the good Work their predecessor may have done.
In addition to all this learning, the most important thing to remember is that you also have to change the way you approach your work. Most likely you’ve spent most of your career doing. All of a sudden your successes are determined not by what you do, but rather what your people accomplish. In other words, you are dependent on them to make you look good. At the same time, they depend on you for help, guidance, and getting work done. Many new managers fail because they don’t understand or grasp this important concept. Unfortunately, they think management simply doing more of the same.
Perhaps the best advice we can give anyone getting promoted into their first managerial role is to seek out the help and coaching they need to be successful. This includes finding a coach, getting trained on key managerial and supervisory skills, and being transparent when you make a mistake or don’t out how to do something. If you do these simple things, you are well in your way to a long managerial career.