One of the most important things to develop if you want to have success in your chosen career path are your managerial skills. As successful business people like Larry Polhill can confirm, even if you aren’t yet a manager, your demonstration of this skill set will be recognized by your supervisor, who won’t forget that you have what it takes the next time a spot on the management team comes up. When you do get the nod, however, you may be concerned about how to settle into this new role – especially if you are going to be responsible for managing your former peers. While this can be a stressful undertaking, remember that you were promoted because your boss has confidence in your skills; with some consideration and forward thinking you will be sure to rise to the challenge. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the first months.
Get yourself a mentor, asap!
A mentor is simply a person who has been where you have been, and can help you navigate the challenges of adapting to your new role with advice and guidance. A mentor can also help to explain the culture of management in your company, and can help you to decipher relationships and responsibilities that you may not have been exposed to previously. Importantly, a mentor can be a useful sounding board for your concerns and ideas, and can help you avoid missteps in your early days as a new manager. Many businesses, especially larger companies that regularly promote from within, will formally assign a mentor to a new member of the management team. If this isn’t the case, identify someone whose management style seems a good model of how you would like to perform the job, and approach them.
Think about the manager who inspires you!
Even if you have a mentor, but especially if you don’t, treat the careful and conscious development of your management style as a part of the job. You don’t want to be “winging it” because this may result in an inconsistent approach to the duties, to your decision-making, and to your approach to managing problems. The people in your department need to know that you can be counted on to have a coherent approach to the job that informs your decisions and choices – especially if they don’t agree with those decisions. Try to think about the manager who most inspired you to work to your best potential, and reflect on what it was that you were responding to.
Don’t stop learning
Whether you learned your management skills at school or on the job, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have nothing left to learn once you have joined the management team. In fact, in addition to continuing to develop and refine your management skills, you will also need adapt to the new perspective that being a manager requires. You may now be responsible for multiple departments or sectors, and will have to think more strategically than before about how those departments contribute to the company as a whole.
Remember, if the task seems daunting, that you were promoted because your boss has faith in your ability to rise to the challenge!