How to Successfully Make the Shift from Employee to Manager
One of the biggest career challenges is making the shift from employee to manager. This is the time when professionals have more to do than just learn new skills or enhance current skills. Rather, it is the time when professionals need to completely rethink the way they function in the work environment.
If you have been promoted from employee to manager, it is because you have achieved great successes in your career. However, they way you achieved this success will be vastly different to the way you achieve success in a management position.
You have built your entire career by thinking and functioning in a specific way. But now, your new position requires you to think completely differently. This is a massive transition and is something that does not become second nature overnight.
You need to take on a new attitude now, and below are a list of key approaches to consider when taking on your management role:
Set priorities and agenda in place for your team
You are no longer just setting goals for yourself, you are doing this for your entire team.
This is difficult for most new managers as they are used to only being accountable for their performance, and their performance only. Now, they are accountable for everyone on their team. This is quite a daunting realisation.
To achieve this, you need to take control early on. In the first few weeks of your new job, you need to set up regular meetings with your team and individual team members. Set these meetings to your calendar to ensure they are not missed.
You also need to provide primary goals and milestones you would like the team to achieve. Once your team is working toward a unified goal, the more effective they will be.
There will be many times that you will think the task would be easier to complete if you just did it yourself. This may be true as you are an expert in your field, but this is not your job. If you do not delegate, you will hurt yourself and your team.
By not delegating tasks to team members, you are not allowing employees to grow and develop their skills. This kind of micromanaging will also take up all your time, and you will not have energy to manage your team effectively.
As a manger, your goal is not to do the work yourself. It is to ensure the work gets completed by others. With that in mind, you need to invest your time in teaching them what you need to make sure that the job gets completed effectively.
Listen to team members
When you were an individual contributor, you had a specific routine for getting your tasks done. Once you become a manager you need to remember that your team members have their own specific routines to get a job done. This can become frustrating for you, but you need to be flexible.
If you insist on your team members only following your way, they will build resentment, as you are taking away their independence and undermining them.
Of course, you can’t offer absolute freedom. If someone is not performing, you certainly need to intervene. But remember, by listening to your team members and being a bit flexible, you will cultivate a more successful team.
Manage your time effectively
No matter what job you have, time management is key. This becomes even more vital when you are made a manager.
You need to set time aside for your team, review their work, and monitor every aspect of the team’s performance.
Every week, you should set aside time where you have no urgent tasks to complete, so that you can concentrate on strategic thinking, and how you can help your team develop.
Spend time learning about the entire business
As an individual contributor, you did not attend every business meeting and you probably didn’t read every company newsletter. You may not have known about any changes in any other department either. When you have been made a manager, this needs to change.
Managers need to function more strategically and to achieve this, you need to have a fully rounded understanding of the company. This means that you need to learn about every aspect of the business.
Set time aside to learn more about the industry in its entirety. Keep up with the latest industry innovations and trends. This will make you a greater leader for numerous reasons.
It will assist you in forming better partnerships throughout your company’s departments and help you in maker better decisions. Understand how your team’s performance affects the overall performance of the business.
Remember the customer is your number one priority
As an employee, you had a narrow focus. It was just about completing your tasks successfully. When you become a manager, your focus becomes greater. You need to focus on your industry in its entirety, your team members, your manager, and cross functional departments. But all of that is not as important as your customers.
Your job is now to offer the best experience for your clients. If you find yourself too caught up in internal politics, or macro trends, you can quickly lose sight of this.
As overwhelming as this is, most of the things you have learned as a successful individual contributor, won’t help you when it comes to being a successful manager.
You need to shift your attitude and perspective when you take on this new role – and the quicker you make this change, the more effective you will be as a manager.
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