Tips to Make a Better Transition to Management

If transitioning to a management role feels too big for you to handle, you’re not alone. Moving from individual contributor to team leader is exciting as you create new opportunities for your professional growth. It’s also challenging as most people don’t anticipate the extra responsibilities and struggles, they might face.

These struggles, though, represent the norm, not the exception, even for the most talented individuals in your organization. And when a high-performance contributor fails to adjust to a management position, the company suffers significant human and financial costs. So why don’t organizations pay more attention to preparing their people for the new role?

Stepping up as a manager requires additional skills to lead your team and improve their performance, make decisions, and take responsibility when things don’t go as planned. The transition is difficult, but there are numerous strategies to help people develop for the new position and ensure a smooth transition.

Training is the best approach to understanding the goals and expectations of such roles, so taking advantage of any development opportunity will set you up for success. If you don’t know where to start, you will find practical advice here to make a better transition to management. But let’s first find out first why the transition to management is so challenging.

Why is the transition to management so challenging?

Misconceptions play a big part in someone’s development as a manager. Most people have an idea of what it means to be a manager, but these notions are sometimes unrealistic and create false expectations that make the transition harder. By recognizing the struggles and taking action on them, new managers have a greater chance of success. Let’s go over the most popular misconceptions in management.

  • Authority. New managers typically believe that rights and privileges come naturally with the position. In real life, authority emerges as they establish credibility with team members, peers, and superiors.
  • Compliance does not equal commitment. You might think you have some authority over your people, but if they are not engaged with team goals, they won’t take the initiative, which makes it harder for the manager to trust and delegate.
  • Team building responsibilities. Yes, one-on-one relationships are important, but building a cohesive team is essential to achieve goals. When new managers focus on individual performance over team culture and performance, it can undermine progress.
  • The boss has all the answers. Asking for help tends to be seen as a sign of weak management, but the key to development is finding support, whether inside or outside the organization. This is a misconception experienced managers should also acknowledge.

7 tips to make a better transition to management

Make changes slowly

Take time to get familiar with the processes in place and understand management procedures before making any changes. Working side-by-side with your team and senior management will give you perspective on when is the right time to incorporate your ideas. So as you develop as a manager, you’ll know what processes to keep and what to improve or change.

Take advantage of every learning opportunity

Whether the company offers formal training or not, there are plenty of opportunities to improve your management and leadership skills. Observe senior management, take courses on management techniques or look for mentorship possibilities in your organization. Taking advantage of every learning opportunity and learning new approaches to management will develop your strengths in your role.

Develop your leadership and management skills

As you settle into your new position, make sure management development is always part of your career plan. A good manager constantly learns leadership skills and management techniques to achieve personal and organizational goals. Focusing on ongoing professional development can help you succeed in your career.

Create partnerships around you

Leading your team/unit to success is your main goal, but managing up, down, and sideways will give you a deeper understanding of your organization and corporate goals. Once you understand your company’s mission and how others support the operation, you can develop more effective plans for your team and organization.

Foster community

When you’re promoted, you become your peer’s manager. So to ensure a smooth transition, work on creating an inclusive and positive culture in which your teams feel comfortable coming to you for support, feedback, and advice. It’s your job to guide how to solve problems, but let them take on the challenge themselves.

Communicate openly with your team

Being open about the organization’s decisions and strategic plans is essential to building a positive culture. That’s how everyone better understands their role in the company, works to accomplish the same goals, and keeps engagement high. Effective communication also requires a coaching mindset¬†to create a supportive and collaborative environment where leaders focus on keeping their team motivated and results-focused.

Set up regular check-ins and feedback

We mentioned that team building is key to succeed in your management efforts. But regular individual check-ins with team members will give you a clear idea of your team dynamics and personal goals. Same goes for feedback. There’s no development without evaluating team performance and productivity. That helps you adjust your goals and set new ones that align with your people. ¬†

Understanding that stepping into a management position for the first time is challenging is the first move to ensure a smooth transition. Be yourself, and rely on resources and learning opportunities around you to improve your skills. Your success not only benefits you but the entire organization.

Author: Eric Girard
Company: Girard Training Solutions
Eric Girard | LinkedIn