You Got Promoted to Manager, Now What?
Congratulations you’ve been promoted to manager! All of your hard work has paid off. It feels great doesn’t it? You may be proud and excited but there may also be a bit of anxiety.
This is absolutely normal. You’re about to start a new job with new challenges. It’s only natural to worry about whether you’ll be as good at this role as the ones that got you there.
Why Being Promoted to Manager Can Be Challenging
It can be challenging to start any new job but when it’s a new job at a new level it can be especially daunting. What are some of the reasons new managers can find it challenging?
You may lack experience
Were you a top performer in your last role? Being promoted to a manager is often based on the fact that you were a top performer in your prior role. That doesn’t always mean that you have all the skills necessary to excel as a people manager.
Managing people requires its own specialized skillset and you may have to put in extra effort to develop yourself in this area if you haven’t had the experience previously.
New skills are needed
Managing people relies heavily on emotional intelligence, leadership skills, and coaching skills. These are often not areas you would have heavily focused on before taking on a people management role.
Learning to coach your new team will be one of the key skills to make you successful. Coaching has been proven to drive continual improvement in a business unit’s performance.
Check out some tools to get you started:
Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Promoted to Manager
Ask any leader and I bet they’ll have a story about their missteps as a new manager. Everyone learns by making mistakes and new managers are no exception.
To ensure you can navigate and avoid some of the more common pitfalls, let’s take a look at a few examples.
Don’t only do what worked as a top performer
You’ve probably been a top performer for a while. That often times means you’ve relied heavily on a set of skills that have proven to work well for you. Relying too much on what’s worked well for you in the past can be a mistake though.
Let’s say your last role required you to produce something. You likely figured out how to do more with less and how to do it faster. As you can imagine this would be a recipe for disaster when managing people.
As a people manager you’ll want to dedicate time to each individual on your team. Fast may not work for each team members. You’ll have to be able and willing to customize your approach.
Fail to change communication style
Communication styles often vary as you go higher in an organization. You’ll need to adapt your style to communicate successfully. That means tailoring your style to each interaction and the needs of the person you’re interacting with.
If you fail to adapt your communication style, you’ll likely be seen as less successful and even have trouble getting the best out of your team.
Skip building relationships with each team member
You’ve just been promoted to manager and your gung ho to jump in. Not so fast. You’ll want to ease into the role and take time to get to know each member of your team.
Even if you’ve worked with or near the team members in the past. You now need to build or refine your relationship based on your new role. Take the time to build trust early and you’ll see the benefits as you and your team grow together.
Best First Steps to Take When Promoted to Manager
To get off to the best start possible there are a few things that you can do. Taking the time now to do some of these things will reap tons of rewards in the future.
Create a 90 day plan
The first three months in any new role can make or break your future success. Having a well defined plan will help you to have clear goals, concrete steps to take, and a strong way to measure your progress.
As we discussed previously, you need to build relationships with your new team. You also need to build relationships with your new peers as well as your manager. Having a strong relationship at varying levels of the organization can help you get things done more easily and be a good resource when you need help.
Just like you should have a clear plan for yourself, you also want to outline what you expect of your team. Setting clear expectations will make it easier to hold each member of your team accountable to the results you need to be successful.
Setting the right expectations from the start will move you towards strong results that much more quickly.
Identify someone to imitate
Before you were promoted to manager you probably had a pretty clear idea of who the best managers in the business unit were. You likely noticed these managers because their teams seem to enjoy working for them and have consistent success.
This is the type of manager you want to pay attention to. How do they interact with their team? Do you see behaviors you can model? Paying close attention to the managers around you who are already successful means you can imitate their best qualities. Imitation is the best form of flattery, after all.
Resources for When You’ve Been Promoted to Manager
As anyone who’s ever ‘googled’ anything realizes, it’s often not what you know but what you can find quickly. Resources for your own development are the same. Let’s look at a few resources everyone should take advantage of.
Just like you want to help each member of your team to improve, your manager should also be invested in your success. Take advantage of their experience and knowledge. Your manager is a great place to brainstorm or role play scenarios and to gain guidance.
Your manager peers
The other mangers you work with are experiencing the same kinds of challenges you are and many have been at it longer. Building relationships with your peers means you can lean on them for some best practices.
Company and HR internal resources
Most companies have a library of training and other resources much of which can be useful when you’ve been promoted to manager. Often times you’ll find your company has memberships with online training networks or at least an internal library provided by your HR department
Don’t let these resources go to waste.
How You Know It’s Working
Monitoring your progress is key once you’ve been promoted to manager. It will allow you to course correct quickly when things aren’t going as planned.
What are some signs that you’ve gotten off to the right start with your team?
Your team respects you
You notice that members of your team solicit your feedback and put weight on your opinion and guidance. This is a definite indication that you are succeeding at winning their respect.
Team trusts you
You should start to have more in depth development conversations with each member of your team. If your team trusts you then you’ll find them collaborating on how to improve and being transparent with their struggles.
Performance continually improving
You can tell a lot by looking at the metrics. At the end of the day, measuring results is a key part of a managers role. If you’re seeing continual improvement in your metrics this is a great sign that you’re taking the right steps with your team and finding success.
Resources to help:
Your manager gives you praise
Positive feedback is great to hear. It’s also a great way to understand just how well things are going. Hearing positive reinforcement of your actions directly from your manager is definitely one of the most straight forward ways to gauge your progress.
What if your manager hasn’t given you feedback? Ask! Feedback is valuable at all levels and roles. Don’t be afraid to ask for it if you’re not getting enough. You own your development and your manager’s input is critical to understanding how you’re doing.
Taking the Right Next Steps After You Were Promoted to Manager
As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to set yourself up for success when you’re promoted to manager. You should understand how to adapt your behavior and skill sets for the new role. You then want to avoid making common mistakes.
Most importantly, you want to create a solid plan that you hold yourself accountable to.
Lastly using all the resources available to you, be sure to monitor your progress and adapt as you go. Doing so will get you off to the best start possible when you’re promoted to manager.