Transitioning successfully from employee to manager
Moving up from employee to managerial status can pose a number of challenges. Here are a few to-dos on how to gain credibility and prove your leadership qualities.
You’ve accumulated a great deal of expertise in your area and now, here you are, promoted to manager.
The conversion from managing your own work to managing others’ requires the ability to learn quickly, so that your career path can continue to flourish.
Becoming a successful manager can be learned and help is at hand.
Build your new network
It is more important than ever to consolidate (and nurture) your network.
Your new circle will comprise your team members, colleagues and mentors. They are all there to advise, share their expertise and skills and provide support for the projects you are keen to put into action.
Harness the strength of the group; you will find it difficult to lead the battle alone.
A large part of coming to grips with your new role as a manager involves listening.
Active listening enables you to discover new points of reference, to connect with your team members and get to know them better.
Listening to those around you at work will improve your communication skills.
Do not underestimate the power of a “What do you think?” It shifts the focus and invites discussion, giving you greater insight into what is really going on in the company.
Leverage individual strengths
To define your new role requires an exercise in introspection. Establish where your strengths and talents lie; you will be relying on these to master your new management responsibilities.
Also think carefully about your weaker points and the areas where you feel vulnerable. By acknowledging your weaknesses to others, you demonstrate your accountability and invite trusted colleagues to help you improve strengthen your skills in these areas.
It is also your responsibility to cultivate your employees’ potential.
Understand your organization’s culture
There is much more to an organization’s culture than its values. It also defines the way the company does things, the way it treats its employees and how managers communicate with them.
An organization’s culture represents its identity, its DNA. Becoming fully acquainted with your organization’s culture will not only help you acclimatize to your new managerial role, but it will also help you convey the culture to employees.
Deciphering this code of conduct also enables you to anticipate any organizational changes and transformations which will, in turn, make it easier for you to adapt.
Develop an action plan
Just as a new government briefs the nation on its first 100 days in office, you will be asked to carry out a similar exercise quite soon after taking up your new position. All the more reason to work out a plan of action to facilitate this transition period.
The plan revolves around the following 4 questions:
- How much?
1. What: establishing the results to be achieved
This is where you must draw a distinction between the results and the means. The objective must be quantifiable.
In order to attain an objective, everyone must know precisely what it is. Otherwise, it’s a bit like asking a marathon runner to cross the finishing line without telling him where the line is.
To trace your line, focus on the four specific features of a result:
- Relevance: the objective has to be relevant to the business and strategic plans of the company.
- Control: attaining the goal must be up to individuals and not external factors, such as a lack of resources.
- Measurability: the goal must be measurable in terms of numbers and facts (and not based on perception, opinions or interpretation).
- Ambition: the objective must be ambitious but realistic, and must aspire to improving the company’s performance.
2. How: state the means to be used to fulfil the objective
Once the objective has been defined, you must make it clear how, exactly, it is to be accomplished.
“Means” refer to the projects and tasks to be carried out, the tools to be put in place, the resources and the skills that must be acquired in order to meet the targeted results.
3. When: fix a timetable
Defining a timetable for achieving results is not merely a matter of plunking deadlines down on a calendar.
You also need to specify the duration of the activities and how human, financial and material resources are to be utilized.
Once the sequence of the activities has been defined, it is vital to stay on track but also to review and make any adjustments you see fit.
4. How much: taking stock
You should regularly review how your action plan is coming along.
Make adjustments along the way and ask for the support you need to reach your objectives.
If you are on target to meet your goals, stick with the plan and don’t change a winning recipe.