Join Britt Andreatta for an in-depth discussion in this video Going from peer to manager, part of Management Foundations (2013).
So you’ve been promoted to manager. Congratulations, this is a great opportunity, and if you’re like most people you’re simultaneously excited and nervous, I know I was. We’ve all experienced bad bosses, and I’m sure you want to do a good job, and be someone your employees trust and respect. In fact, that should be your goal. To build a relationship with them based on trust and respect. In this chapter we’ll cover ways you can do that, but first let’s talk about how you transition from being a peer to a manager. If you’re coming in from the outside, and haven’t worked alongside your reports it can be easier, because you don’t have a previous relationship with them.
You come in to a role of authority. While they don’t know you, they also don’t have any preconceived notions about you. However, you’ll have more work to do to help them get to know you and trust you. If you’ve been promoted to supervise your colleagues they do know you, which means they have some beliefs about who you are and how you’ll manage. These may or may not be accurate, so you may need to overcome not only their assumptions but your own. Whether you’re promoted from within or hired from the outside the following strategy should guide your actions the first few weeks and months.
First, have patience with their nervousness. You probably remember having a new boss yourself, because we’ve all lived with poor managers people are somewhat anxious to see what kind of manager you’re going to be. This means that they’ll simultaneously be putting on their best behavior for you, and also guarded about what they share with you. They’ll also be trying to bend your ear about their priorities and concerns. That’s good, you want to learn all you can so listen. Just don’t promise anything early on until you’ve really had time to assess everything.
This is a great time to focus on getting to know your people, your second strategy. One of the best things any new manager can do is to make a point of meeting with each of your people to learn more about them. Here are some key questions to ask. Tell me about your role, I’d like to hear your perspective on what your priorities are and the challenges that you face. How I can support you in being successful? How do you like to be supervised? What motivates and engages you at work, and by thanking them for the information.
At this point, don’t make any promises about what you will or won’t do. It’s too early to commit to anything. I also think it’s a good idea to meet with your colleagues in other departments, and also those above you. Ask them the first two questions, you’ll learn a lot. This is all part of the third strategy, which is to take time and gather information. This is certainly important if you’re new to the organization, but it’s even more so if you’re already working there and here’s why. As you move up you gain a whole new perspective about things. You’ll be privy to all kinds of information that you didn’t have before.
You’ll learn more about the people above you, the organization’s goals and challenges, as well as confidential information about the budget and personnel files. Trust me when you move up, it’s a whole new world. So you want to take time to learn all that you can before you make any big decisions, or implement new ideas. While you may be brimming with them, it’s in your best interest to slow down, and thoroughly explore the real lay of the land. Fourth, be transparent with your values and philosophy. While you may be waiting to design and implement changes, you can use this time to share your values and management philosophy.
This is how you start building trust, and establishing your integrity. Your employers are nervous, and they want and need to know who you’re going to be. I recommend completing the handout called, Discovering Your Core Values. It’s in the exercise files from course titled Leadership Fundamentals. Fifth, take time to craft your overall strategy. Once you’ve gathered information you want to think about how you can address and resolve some of the challenges while also maximizing strengths and opportunities. This all needs to work within the structures and resources you have.
By crafting your overall plan it will help you map out how you’ll make changes over time. In addition, it will be the North Star that will guide your decision making in all kinds of situations. If you know you’ll be implementing change, be sure to watch the course called, Leading Change. Finally, pace yourself. I know you may be chomping at the bit to get started, but if you rush too quickly you may accidentally damage the relationships you’re trying to build. Your effectiveness as a manager is completely dependent on your ability to build positive working relationships with people all over your organization.
So focus on that first, and the rest will follow.
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- Choosing a management style
- Hiring employees
- Coaching employees
- Managing team performance
- Establishing trust
- Motivating and engaging others
- Delegating responsibilities
- Avoiding micromanagement
- Managing remote employees
- Knowing HR regulations<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.