Source: Harvard Business Review
In an article for Harvard Business Review, Katy Tynan explains that when an employee is promoted and makes the transition to a managerial position, there are a few common hurdles that can stall their progress. Becoming a manager requires a shift in mindset from a sole contributor to a leader and mentor to a team.
Tynan writes that one of the crucial first steps for new managers is to track the improvement of your team and their work, rather than comparing their work and output to your own. This helps get new managers out of the mindset that “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” and into measuring your own success through the success of your team.
Tynan goes on to detail 5 more steps new managers should take to help transition into a managerial role.
- Take the Long View. While individual contributors need to focus on the details and getting each task done, Tynan writes that managers need to look ahead and focus on the bigger picture. This will help you see how each team member’s project fits together and plan for contingencies in case things don’t go as expected.
- Ask More Questions. If one team member is struggling, Tynan says it is more productive to help the employee find a solution than to just provide the answer or do the work yourself. Asking questions and having the employee describe the challenge will help them better understand the challenge they are facing and find a solution on their own.
- Focus on What and When. As an individual contributor, it is important to focus on how you get your work done and how to make that process as efficient as possible, but as a manager, it is more important to focus on the deliverables and when things need to be done. Tynan writes that managers should leave the “how” up to each person on the team. Focusing on the goals will help prevent new managers from micromanaging situations.
- Trust Your Gut. Though transitioning to a new role may be uncomfortable and make you question your decisions and instincts, Tynan explains that your instincts are still valuable and if you feel like work isn’t being done or deadlines are being missed, you should trust your instincts and confront your team. She suggests managers check in regularly with their team and make sure they are up-to-date on progress.
- Be Patient. Tynan writes that shifting your mindset from an individual contributor to the broader view of a manager takes time and you shouldn’t expect it to happen overnight. When feeling overwhelmed or unsure, she recommends new managers ask themselves the following:
- Am I seeing my direct reports’ strengths and weaknesses clearly, or comparing them to mine?
- Am I taking the long view, anticipating capabilities, challenges and expectations?
- Am I asking questions more often than dispensing answers?
- Am I setting clear deadlines and deliverables, but leaving the “how” up to my team?
- Am I second-guessing my instincts? (Don’t.)
- Am I being patient with my own development as a manager?