For most of us, change can be a little scary. Making the transition from being a front-line employee to a supervisory or management role can be intimidating. Some anxiety is natural during such a change. It’s not an indication that you aren’t ready for the new role. Luckily, you can manage these feelings through preparation. With a few simple steps, you can make a game plan to help make this exciting transition a smoother one!
Know Your Goal
The first step to transitioning to a management role is to understand the company’s expectations. You need to know what is expected of you in the new position in order to make a plan for you and your team. Once you understand the goal, design an action plan by working backwards. Visualize the actions and resources needed at each step to help you and your team reach the next milestone. Don’t forget to allow room for error. After all, you’re new at this!
Creating an action plan helps you prepare for the future. When you understand what needs to be done, you’re more able to delegate tasks effectively. A plan also helps you communicate your vision for the future to your team.
Your plan shouldn’t be set in stone, however. While good advice and careful preparation can get you off to a good start, know that there will be some hurdles along the way. No one gets a smooth ride, but bumps in the road are teaching tools. They help you navigate any obstacle in the future.
Again, this is why preparation is so helpful. You’ll be able to see when your team is going off course. You can then decide whether you need to change your action plan or take steps to get things back on track.
Brush Up on Your People Skills
Making the transition to management isn’t a time for bravado. It’s a time to be humble and look for ways to improve YOU which will make you a better team leader. While the best starting point will be different for everyone, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on some essential leadership skills.
Subject matter knowledge and other hard skills are necessary, but so are soft skills. Being able to delegate work and offer feedback effectively calls for emotional awareness and tact. Beyond handling day-to-day tasks, you need to know what kind of manager you want to be for your team. How will you motivate others? How will you address difficult situations that arise? What actions can you take to be a positive leader?
Never Stop Learning
While it won’t make your perfect, knowing your goal, preparing for setbacks, and understanding how to handle situations where emotions are involved will get you off on the right foot. But the fact is, no two teams are alike and no two companies are alike. What works in one situation may not work in others.
So adopt a mindset that allows personal growth. Seek out mentors, read management books, listen to business podcasts — anything that will help you learn and grow personally and professionally.
Looking for some great resources to help you build your management skills? Check out the following:
- The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
- How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
- How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age, by Dale Carnegie
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
- High Output Management, by Andrew S. Grove
- Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
- Whale Done! by Ken Blanchard