5 Steps to Succeed as a Manager
Getting promoted to a management position can be a huge boost to your income … and your ego. That is, until you actually start managing. We wanted to help you navigate the new terrain a bit more easily.
Unfortunately, workers often get little or no training when they’re promoted into a first-time management position and find themselves in a sink or swim situation. But, even without training, you can survive. Here are five strategies that could help:
If you’ve been promoted to management by your current employer, your relationships have just changed. People who were once your colleagues now report to you. Accept that those relationships will be different and then build new ones. Meet with everyone on your team individually and get to know their goals and feelings about their work. Let them know you’re interested in their success. Also, if it applies in your particular business, contact vendors and customers to let them know who you are and how you like to work in order to set the stage early for strong relationships outside the organization. And finally, meet with other managers in the company to get to know them. You might even find a few mentors in those who have gone before you.
When you’re promoted to manager, you probably need to know what’s going on more than you did in your old position. While you’re building relationships, you also need to find out the status of projects, as well as the more detailed workings of your department. Dig deep into your reports and find out what has and hasn’t been working and where you might run into some obstacles as responsibilities are shifting. You don’t want to get caught in the trap of being held responsible for a project falling apart even though you had no idea what was going on in the first place. It is now your job to know. This input will also help you make positive changes in your department’s operations, which will look good to everyone in the organization.
Understand Goals and Expectations
As soon as you start your new job, it’s important to sit down with your supervisor and find out what’s expected of you. Many managers fail because they don’t know what they’re really supposed to be accomplishing. Have your boss help you spell out your goals and let you know what is specifically expected of you. Then, make sure you establish how these things will be measured and when. At this point, it’s not out of line for you to also request any training or developmental help the company can provide to help you meet those goals and expectations. Make it clear that being well-trained will make you a more efficient and effective manager, which will only help the company’s bottom line.
Learn the Operations
It’s important, when you become a manager, to understand your organization’s operations. Not just those of your department, but those of the company as a whole. Schedule some time to visit other departments, as well as the “front lines” of your organization, so you can see what it is the entire team is working toward. Having a better understanding of what goes on company-wide will make you a more informed and more passionate leader. If you get behind what the organization is all about, you will be able to better lead your part of that charge toward the finish. Also, having a better idea of the company’s goals will help you serve those to whom you report and make you a more informed participant in executive discussions.
A common pitfall that many new managers aren’t prepared for is burnout. Suddenly, you go from caring about just your job to having to worry about your entire department. You want to take on a lot of big changes in order to make your mark quickly and conspicuously. Be careful. It’s okay to take the change slowly. Take your time and plan your strategy and don’t take on too much. Making slow changes will help you and your department adjust. Delegating responsibilities will keep your plate from becoming overfilled and will show your team that you trust them to do the work they know how to do. You are a manager, not a solo flier. You have people reporting to you because you aren’t meant to do everything yourself. Get buy-in from your team and then take your time and do things right.