You’ve Been Promoted to Manager. Now What?
There’s a saying: “What got you here, won’t get you there.” This is especially true when moving from an individual contributor role to a manager role. It is no longer about what you can accomplish – it’s about your ability to drive others and their accomplishments. This is a new challenge and one that requires leaning on a new set of skills.
Get to know yourself
Before you can successfully manage a team, you need to take time to better understand yourself as a manager. Take time to assess your communication style – do you prefer constant emails from your team or is a weekly update enough? Do you want all of the details, or will a bulleted list suffice? Knowing how you communicate is important because not everyone will communicate the same way. There will be a learning curve for everyone.
As part of that, think about your expectations, for yourself and your team. Do you expect your colleagues to communicate exactly the way you do? How do you expect them to behave and interact with teammates and others? One important first step as a manager is to communicate these expectations, and you will benefit from taking time up front to really understand what they are.
Remember that you are human. Your promotion didn’t give you super speed or the ability to read minds. While you are further along in your development journey, your strengths and weaknesses are still a part of you. Use both to your advantage with your team. Share your strengths and acknowledge the areas you are still working on. The best teams have balance and know how to fill in each other’s gaps.
Get to know your team
Your team is going to be made up of unique individuals, each with their own skillset, strengths, and of course, weaknesses. They also will have different wants and needs from you and for themselves. What works for one person may not work for the other.
Don’t cookie-cut your approach. Learn who each person is, how they like to work, and what they need. Some may not be able to articulate what they want. It’s up to you to look beyond the words that are said to help them be the best they can be. Creating one-on-one relationships is the foundation of a good employee-manager relationship.
As you get to know your team, dive deeper by asking questions – and really listening to the answers.
Old management styles of telling employees what to do are no longer best practices to emulate. Creating two-way conversations, getting feedback from your team along the way and getting them to open up about how to solve problems is much more effective. This is a great opportunity to give your team the opportunity to shine while developing new skills.
Along the way, share your vision of success for the team; make sure you are realistic in your goals. Challenging but attainable goals are a great way to stretch your team and build your credibility as a manager.
Speaking of challenging goals, creating individual goals for your employees will help them grow and develop. Just like everything else, this is a conversation, not a directive. Learn what drives your employee, how they see their career path, and what their goals are. One employee may have more steps to attain their goals than others, but that’s all part of the journey. Encourage them by creating development and learning opportunities.
Treat everyone fairly and consistently. Everyone’s journey will be just as unique as they are, and your consistency will build loyalty and credibility. Conversations with employees should be ongoing; they should always know where they stand and how they are doing. Don’t wait for the performance review to share.
Allow for mistakes
Remember that we are all human. Your team members will have good days and bad, accomplish great things and make mistakes. The conversation you have with a teammate when a mistake is made is a great learning opportunity. Because you have established effective two-way communication and built lasting relationships with your team, these constructive conversations should be easier, even if they aren’t the most pleasant.
Being a servant leader who empathizes with colleagues during bad days will strengthen your relationship with your direct reports, build rapport, and provide impactful development opportunities that can continue to drive them forward in their careers. The best indicator of your success will be watching your team members succeed – and even get promoted around you.
There is a lot to learn as a new manager, but a focus on yourself and your people will get you started on the right foot.
Fahrenheit Advisors helps organizations optimize their people resources. From HR guidance to leadership coaching, we are here to help you along your journey! Contact us today at Experts@FahrenheitAdvisors.com.
About the Author
Jillian Zemp provides a broad range of expertise in recruiting, benefits and wellness, performance management and development. Utilizing her project management experience, she has an outstanding success record of implementing organization-wide programs. Jillian supports clients by providing fractional human resources expertise with a hands-on approach and strategic guidance.