You’re The Manager Now!

As I have written a few times, I am now instructing “New Manager” training. For me, this is a nice way to pay it forward, as I am leaving at the end of the year. This post is about a topic that I see all too often; it is the peer that gets promoted within the same team. The very next day, they are now the boss, supervisor, manager and potentially the leader of the very same team that they were a part of. Cool, right? Maybe.. It is nice that an organization can reward a hard working employee and even same themselves some learning curve issues. The employee feels rewarded as well. That first day, must feel strange. You walk in the same door as before. You probably go to the same office. There is something different, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Until that first problem comes in, now you are the manager.

What are the difficulties that you are going to face? Well, here are the ones that I remember and share when instructing new managers…

  • You’re in the middle now.  You probably still can clearly identify with your team mates of the past. It is totally natural. Problem is you are not one of “them” anymore. Add to that you are now are a new team, the management team. Transition times two. Walking a very fine and undefined line.
  • Training – Being the ace doer of the transitions does not always help you become a successful manager. May have helped you greatly to get to where you are. As a new manager, you need some help. You need to transition from individual contributor to manager. You need to learn how to manage individuals. As if that is not enough, you will need to learn how to manage teams. Your life long journey into learning about managing and leading has just begun.
  • All eyes are on YOU! Your team (old team mates) eyes are watching you very closely. They are waiting to see how you are going to do with being the boss. They may even try a few things to trip you up. If that is not enough, the management team is watching you too. They are hoping that they choice works out, but they are waiting to see if that is the case. So, make sure that you are ready for lots of eyeballs to be tuned into your every move.
  • Your bias and perceptions of you team. All to often it is easy to use what you thought you know about the team that you were on. You formed your impressions of each team member when you were a peer. It is easy to take those impressions and apply them as the manager. Don’t do it! Did you know every detail of each team mate when you were a peer? Do you have manager type discussions with them ahead of time? Probably not, so it is okay to have your impressions, but don’t act on them till you get a clearer picture.
  • Expectations – As a new manager, you probably still have plenty of stuff that you were doing before that you will be doing in the future. Those are those transactional items that just don’t go away (either by you or by your manager). So, you are again in the middle… First thing that I like to do is, meet with my new manager and ask him/her what are the expectations upon me? Get a clear picture of your expectations. If they are too heavy on the transactional stuff – then when do you have time to manage? If lucky and you have a balance – great – charge ahead.

I could add a few more… There is lots of stuff going on with this transition! It is complete safe for me to say, this is one of the toughest transitions into management there is. If you are willing to learn, listen and work hard – you will be successful.