So, you were doing well as an individual contributor, and due to your contribution, you were promoted to manager. Congratulations! Being responsible for a team is a whole new ball game, compared to when you were accountable for your individual contributions. Your first promotion to manager can be a sticky time in any career. Here are six smart ways to transition from individual contributor to manager.
First things first, you are still part of a team
Now that you are the manager do not get caught up in your own hype. You are still part of a team, and in fact, now you need to be more present and engaged in the team than ever before. Get to know your team members on a personal level, connect with them. Be available, accessible to your team so that you can coach and guide. Remember, it is no longer about how awesome you can be, but how awesome you can make others. It is a good idea to set up regular one on ones.
Feedback is a gift, give it freely
You now have a significant impact on someone’s career growth, this is a big responsibility, and you need to treat it as such. Be measured when you give feedback, but do give it. I have recently come across the Rose, Bud and Thorn method which can be used for performance feedback as well. You share the positives (rose), you share an opportunity for growth where the person can learn and build a new skill (bud), and you share development areas (thorn).
Don’t doubt yourself – lead with confidence
You are now leading a team of people who were possibly your peers at some stage. It is easy to start questioning your abilities to lead. You are even most likely leading individuals who are older and have more years of experience than you. You were given this position for a reason, and you need to trust in your capabilities.
Be flexible and adaptable
Understand that different people want to be engaged and managed in various ways. Some people need more independence whereas others require more contact time and guidance. You need to figure out that sweet spot with each of your team members that motivate them to give their best.
Set a structure with space for your team
It’s important that individuals in your team understand the goals that everyone is working towards. However, leave enough room in the ‘how’ for people to use their ingenuity. You need to use your discretion here, and also use your knowledge of how people like to work to figure this out.
Help your team become smarter and better than you are
So you were always one of the brightest at work? That is why you got promoted to manager. Now you need to hire people smarter than you, coach and guide people to achieve more than you. That is the journey of being a leader, and leveraging the best of a team. If you have people in your team who are better than you at various things. That is amazing. Let them shine and give them credit for their work
Do you have any tips that helped you as a new manager?
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