As a first-time manager, you are likely to encounter challenges and responsibilities that you have never faced before. To be successful in the role, preparation and a willingness to learn new skills is essential. Here are some tips to help ensure your transition into management runs smoothly.
To make a successful move into management, you must establish exactly what is expected of you in your new role. What are the immediate/long term work priorities? What are the key problems to solve? What are the risks you are likely to face? Answering these questions will help you understand where you need to place your focus early on. Equally important is communicating clear, specific and measurable goals to your new team.
Develop key skills
Critical management skills in areas such as problem solving, motivating others and evaluating performance may not have been a part of your previous roles. Ask your company for support in terms of coaching, mentoring or training so that you can develop the skills required to perform your role effectively. You can also up-skill yourself by referencing management websites, business textbooks, or investigating local short courses.
Learn to lead
Moving into a management role involves more than just supervising projects, people and schedules. You will also be expected to perform the role of a leader, which involves communicating a vision of success, enabling your team to do their best work and inspiring others to achieve their potential. To be an effective manager, learn how to incorporate leadership skills into your management style so that you can successfully grow and develop the people you manage.
Most new managers are promoted right out of the role that they excelled in. A key skill to develop early is the ability to let go of the ‘doing’ and give others an opportunity to grow. Your role has shifted from a high performing team member to that of team coach; developing, empowering and inspiring others to excel. Effective delegating is about using your experience to guide others, dictating the ‘what’ (outcome) and ‘why’ (purpose) but allowing people to choose the ‘how’ (method) for themselves.
Emulate key attributes
Think about your previous managers and the attributes you admired in them. How did they treat you? How did they earn your trust? What did you respect about their behaviour? What did they teach you? Use this reflection to help guide your behaviour as a first-time manager. Seeking the feedback of a trusted mentor is also valuable in helping you understand where your attributes and areas for development lie.
When you first make a move into management, remember the following:
- Use the knowledge of others in your company, mentors and your own previous managers to overcome challenges and manage your new responsibilities
- Take the time to develop leadership skills so that you can successfully communicate with your team, develop the skills of each member, and effectively achieve business goals