Making the transition from Peer to Manager

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The first promotion to a leadership position is perhaps one of the most challenging anyone will ever face... New managers often have little knowledge and experience of how to lead and manage a team. Quite often they have been promoted because they excelled as a specialist. We know that the skills that make a strong manager are markedly different from those that make a strong individual contributor.

We have helped lots of people through this difficult transition of moving from co-worker to manager to develop new managerial skills to inspire, coach and motivate their teams.

Here are some tips for new managers on how to approach the role for the first time:

Understand your new role

The first thing you need to do is understand that your role has changed and that your relationships will too. This doesn’t mean you won’t be friendly with your new direct reports, but for the new dynamic to take hold, you need to accept that things are going to feel different then they have been. And you’ll probably need to establish new boundaries with the individuals you’re closest with.

Get to know your team

Organise a face to face meeting with each of your team. Acknowledge the transition, talk about the changing relationships and talk to them about your role. Use the meeting to spell out what you expect from each individual and how you plan to measure performance. Give employees the opportunity to air any concerns they may have and what expectations they may have of you. Understand different personality types too as not everyone will respond to the same style of leadership.

Deal with the disappointed competitor

Perhaps one of your new team is disappointed that they were not selected for your new job. Meet them on a one-on-one basis so that you can have a candid discussion Help them to move forward by discussing ways in which you can support their continued development and emphasise how they add value to the team.

Learn to delegate effectively

Delegating is about giving a task to the right person and managing the process. This means communicating clearly your desired outcome, how it should be performed, the standards required, and giving the right level of support from beginning to end.

Feedback little and often and praise good work

If feedback is given with sincerely and honestly with the intention of helping the individual it can turn a good performer into an excellent one. Whether the feedback is positive or constructive, provide the information as closely tied to the event as possible. It creates an honest culture and helps reduce conflict, improve communication, and boost morale.