Becoming a new manager is both daunting and exciting. It is not just like you’re new to management, but your prior knowledge of management was usually theoretical, abstract, or accrued as part of a staff member role. And since a new manager, albeit one with significant experience under their belt, you are no longer just observing, being evaluated on your actions, but performing and being judged upon these actions. So how do you handle this transition?
The first step is to take some time away from managing. While you are changing jobs and transitioning into being a manager, it is important to have space away from the daily business, so that your personal and professional changes don’t impact each other. This gives you a chance to reflect on what you want to gain from being a manager, as well as what you want to avoid from losing the skills and knowledge you have gained over the years. Reflecting on the future can also help you realize that while you are becoming a manager, you are also changing – both in perception and in responsibilities.
Next, developing your skills will play a large part in managing people. Managers need to be able to communicate effectively with all levels of employees. You must have a way to communicate your goals, communicate your expectations, provide feedback, and encourage people to reach their goals. You should also recognize the strengths of others and share this with your staff, as well as your management team. By recognizing the strengths and contributions of others, you can better ensure that the best practices of others are adopted and implemented for your own team.
Finally, another key element to becoming a good manager is your attitude. Just as you learned as an individual contributor that your skills can make you a good manager, so can your attitude. The success of a business is often tied to the attitudes and behaviors of the people who run it. Having a positive attitude and working your way up the corporate ladder by communicating your expectations to your staff and managing your temperament will staff and constructive criticisms well will play a key role in your success as a manager. You will need to be able to deal with constructive criticism from your staff, your management team, and your leadership.
Being a good manager does not mean that you never learn new things or take on new responsibilities. It just means that you need to keep yourself abreast of the many ways that you can still contribute to the growth of your organization. While you might not be able to change the direction your company is going, you can always shape the course of your company in a positive way – that is, by being a good leader who is willing to listen and learn from other people. By consistently learning new skills and adapting your attitude and leadership style to changing situations, you will be well on your way to becoming a good manager.
If you have recently become a manager and are still having trouble managing yourself, there are many books and online sources that can provide you with valuable information. Many first-time managers find that reading business success stories can help give them some perspective about their situation and provide a level of inspiration. Others will benefit by talking with a coach or mentor who can give specific tips about managing their tasks and responsibilities as well as specific examples of managing successfully. Most managers will discover that the key to their success lies in developing a system for handling the day-to-day tasks of the position, finding ways to make sure their colleagues are happy and contributing as much as they can, and relying on support from all angles. With time, patience, and a solid work ethic, becoming a successful manager is within reach for most first-time managers.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.
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