Congratulations! You're Promoted!
With the looming threat of recession hanging in the air, many employees are keeping one ear fully open, listening for the proverbial next shoe to drop.
You, however, may be one of the lucky ones. If you are fortunate enough to have just been handed a promotion rather than a pink slip, be prepared to confront a new and different set of challenges. Failing to navigate these challenges can put an end to your career just as fast as any economic downturn. Steer clear of major stumbles by immediately adapting to your new position with the following advice:
Make the transition from individual contributor to manager. As a junior employee, your success was measured by how well you tackled day-to-day tasks. Now as you move from the role of an individual contributor into management, your corporate leaders will expect you to grasp bigger picture issues and motivate your team to tackle those problems and opportunities. As a new manager, you must recognize that your new #1 goal is to build a team that consistently performs at high levels.
Recognize that relationships change. As an individual contributor, it may have been perfectly appropriate for you to grab a group of your peers and head to the local watering hole after a hard day at work. Now that you've moved into management, some of those relationships will require adjustments. While you should certainly remain friendly with co-workers, you may wish to move some of those relationships to arms-length. Especially as you become responsible for supervising and evaluating others' work performance, act in a manner that ensures future performance evaluations are not only perceived as being fair and unbiased but, in fact, truly are. While many friendships can survive this change in status, the reality is that others may not.
Never forget that you still have a boss. Many individual contributors are absolutely convinced that life would be so much easier if they were the one in charge. It's only when that person becomes a manager that they suddenly encounter the challenge of balancing the competing demands of their own boss against the wants and needs of their new staff. As a new manager, clarify specifics regarding team and organizational goals with your own supervisor. Just as important, understand how your own performance will be measured.
Find a mentor. Making the transition from individual performer to manager can be mentally taxing and emotionally wearing. Yet, within your organization, lots of other people have already successfully navigated these challenges. Find those other supervisors. Ask for their insights and advice. Learn from those who have made the transition before you.
Build your network. As an individual performer, an employee's focus can be relatively narrow. Individual performers only need to know and understand a task that has been assigned and how to accomplish that task quickly and proficiently. As a manager, however, you need to understand the larger picture. Because the success or failure of another department-even one located on the other side of the world-can acutely affect success or failure in your new position, quickly work to build a network that includes other organizational managers and leaders.
Learn to listen. It's almost become a cliché, yet it's absolutely true: You will always learn more by asking than telling. The most important asset any new manger possesses is information. Never assume you already possess all the facts and the best ideas. Instead, seek the input of others and make a point to actively listen. Begin your listening tours early and repeat them often. If you are now responsible for supervising managers, consider scheduling an initial meeting with each manager followed by a meeting with the entire management team. If you are now responsible for supervising a group of individual performers, consider scheduling one meeting with the entire team.
Never forget your own beginnings. The best managers I have encountered are the ones who forever remember that they were once an individual contributor, too. They never forget the challenges individual contributors face-less than ideal work environments, tight deadlines, and the constant pressure to perform. Teams operate best when they believe that the person most directly responsible for their performance remains willing to roll up his or her sleeves, dive in, and help.
**The above content is given to us and solely owned by Mary Crane of Mary Crane & Associates LLC.
A graduate of George Washington Law School, Mary Crane lobbied in Washington, D.C. for nearly 10 years before pursuing her life-long interests in food and wine. Crane enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America and, upon graduation, worked at the White House as an assistant chef. During this time, Crane discovered the important relationships between food, wine and business. Her desire to share this unique knowledge yielded Mary Crane & Associates. Today, Crane travels North America delivering high-impact, high-energy programs to Fortune 500 companies and more than 50% of the AmLaw100. She supports new employees by explaining how to quickly assimilate in today's fast-paced work environment. Crane also helps managers understand how to best recruit, motivate, and retain today's newest workers. • Visit her Web site