Finally, you have moved into a manager role after a big promotion or getting a new job, but what do you do now?
Congratulations on your new role as a manager! It's a really awesome achievement, and it means that your company trusts you to lead and guide others. However, being a manager is a whole new ball game compared to being an individual contributor (which just means that you have no people reporting into you). It requires a different skill set and mindset, and it can be daunting at first. Being a manager is more than just doing your job really well and making sure others do their job really well. Actually, your job will probably (and should!) change a lot more than you expect. Your bandwidth to "do the work" will shrink and your time spent figuring out what other people will do, determining business priorities and communicating information to your team will take up a lot more time.
You may or may not get company support (or your own managers support) during this transition so, I am sharing the five things to consider when stepping into your new role as a manager.
Consider what type of manager you want to be
People stay at a company for a good manager and people leave a company for bad manager. As a manager, you have a really big impact on the well being of those who report into you. How you assign work, how you bring energy into the workplace, how you provide feedback and how you show appreciation all really matters. So, take time upfront and really consider the type of manager you want to be.
Now, try this activity! Get a piece of paper and create two columns - one labelled "best leader" and one labelled "worst leader". Set a timer for five minutes and write down the top characteristics of leaders you have had in the past that fall into each of those categories. Now, from that list, select the top three characteristics you want to embody as a manager. Post this list as a reminder for yourself to set high standards! Check out my own top three below.
Get to know your people!
Take the time up front to get to know your team as people, not just employees. This is your first priority as a leader because it helps build trust and sets the tone for who you are as a leader. Don't stretch this out over a four-month period either, do this upfront, as much for your own benefit as to those who you lead. I prefer to do this 1:1, but depending on the size of your team, you could also do this in a group setting. I usually start with asking "what should I know about you as a person?" - this leaves the question open to a lot of interpretation and can tell you a lot about the people on your team. It is important to be respectful of people's individual boundaries in terms of how open they want to be when sharing their life outside of work. Invest in this time upfront because people want to work for great managers and knowing your employees helps you to better assign work, develop their skillsets, position them for the next level and support them when they need a helping hand.
As a manager, recognize that building relationships with your team members, stakeholders, and other managers in your organization is a really big part of your job. It is helpful to communicate effectively, listen actively, and collaborate to achieve common goals. Being approachable, open-minded, and empathetic to understand the needs and concerns of your team members is critical to creating a positive work environment and fostering employee engagement and loyalty.
Communicate on the regular!
Often times a team relies on their manager to be the conduit to critical information about the company. Take this role seriously and do not assume your team received the information direct from another source! Help ensure that your team understands the company's mission, vision, and values and how their work contributes to achieving them. Share updates on the regular - like leadership changes, project updates and stakeholder feedback. But also, begin to create a community, especially if you are leading a virtual/hybrid team. Create a Slack channel (a messaging app) to share weekend plans or your favourite recipe, host a coffee chat on Friday mornings or send along an interesting article. All of these little communications help to define the culture of your team!
Provide (and ask for!) Feedback
As a manager, take your responsibility around feedback seriously. Take the time to recognize people's achievements, identify areas for improvement, and provide actionable advice on how to develop their skills and achieve their goals. But, good managers do more than provide feedback, they ask for it! You should also be receptive to feedback from your team members and use it to improve your own performance. Providing feedback builds trust, motivates your team members, and creates a culture of continuous improvement.
Delegate for the win!
As a manager, you are no longer just responsible for your own work, but for the work of others. You are no longer judged solely on your own output, but on how well you lead and develop your team. You must shift your mindset from focusing on your own tasks to focusing on the tasks of your team. You must learn to delegate, trust, and empower your team members to take ownership of their work and succeed. Delegation can seem easy from the outside, but it means giving up control (that you likely previously had!) and trusting people with critical work. Focus now on setting the expectations around deliverables and quality of work and give your people space to do it their way.
Being a manager is a challenging but rewarding role. By shifting your mindset, building relationships, setting expectations, providing feedback, and developing your leadership skills, you can succeed in your new role and help your team members to thrive. Good luck on your new journey as a manager!
As always, if you are looking for support through a challenging talent situation at work and want a fresh perspective or someone to talk to, reach out! I would LOVE to chat! Connect with me here, shoot me a DM on Instagram or check me out on LinkedIn!
Ps. I drafted this article using Chapt-GPT and then revised it (a lot!), added and edited to make it my own!