How to Make a Successful Transition into a Management Role

You have been an outstanding individual contributor and are promoted into a management role. However, this does not ensure that you are equipped to manage others. The skills needed to successfully transition into a management role are different to the individual contributor competencies. As an individual contributor you hardly get any opportunity to develop people management skills.

What does research indicate?

Research suggests that new managers can be costly to the company if they have not been properly trained. Did you know–the two reasons top performers leave a company are due to “dissatisfaction with management” and conflict with managers.” In addition, new managers are prone to making costly mistakes such as asking wrong questions during interviews or failing to adhere with the contractual procedures. Therefore, it is important newly promoted managers should be provided with adequate training and tools.

It is natural to feel out of control

You will often feel out of control as a first-time manager, or as an experienced manager in a new position or company. This is natural and is a common feeling. But you can take appropriate steps to increase your chances of success in your new job and reduce the feeling of out of control. There are specific actions you need to take in the first few days, weeks and months on the job.

Do you know the size of the challenge? Here are some points to ponder:

  1. Making the change primarily from individual contributor to manager and leader
  2. Dealing more with people and organization  rather than technical issues
  3. Dealing with the insecurity that you will lose your expertise
  4. How do you manage your peers and their criticism by becoming a manager
  5. You have been promoted before you were actually trained to be a manager
  6. You have distinguished yourself as a professional or a subject matter expert in your field. But you have no credibility as a manager.
  7. How to establish a solid working relationship with subordinates, peers, and your boss. If this doesn’t happen early in your management position, then it’s unlikely to happen later.

Trying to deal with all these issues while the engine is running is extremely difficult. Apart from your professional life you have to ensure that your personal life and health don’t get sacrificed.

A realistic picture to keep things in perspective

There is no doubt that the size of the challenge is huge. If you don’t have a plan, many of the strengths that contributed to your promotion will become your weakness. You may fail in making the transition required to deal with the increasing complexity. When this happens a promising career comes to a halt. So have a comprehensive learning plan to avoid derailment before it’s too late. Much derailment in our experience is largely preventable. The purpose of this article is to alert you of the impending challenge.

As a leader, you only make a first impression one time. The climb to the top of the greasy pole is precarious! Take charge of your own development and become a more active learner of new management behavior.


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