4 Proven Steps to Transition into a New Managerial Role

4 Proven Steps to Transition into a New Managerial Role
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It Is Not Easy to Transition into a New Managerial Role
The good news is that you have been promoted to a new managerial role.  The bad news is that it is not easy to transition into a new managerial role.  In fact, research from CEB found that 60% of new managers fail within the first two years in their new leadership position.

We know from people manager assessment center data that the failure to successfully transition into a new managerial role has a lasting and negative impact across an organization.  We also know from new manager training participants that new supervisors are eager to learn and make a good first impression on their team.  This often starts with a more situational approach to leadership.

4 Proven Steps to Transition into a New Managerial Role
In our three decades of designing and delivering customized Management Training Programs, we have seen thousands of managers take on new positions. Here are four proven steps to help transition into a new managerial role:

  1. Focus on Key Stakeholder Relationships
    Leading is about people.  Perhaps the most critical factor in being a successful leader team is the quality of the relationships that you build with your key stakeholders: (1) your team, (2) your boss, and (3) your peers.  Trust is the glue that binds. And leadership trust is built when you take the time to genuinely learn what matters to those upon whom your success is now dependent.

    — What do they need and want in order to be successful in their roles?
    — What value do they seek from their new leader?
    — How can you best support them?
    — What is working well that should be continued?
    — What is not working well that needs to be improved?

    All these questions require that you ask and then actively listen. Avoid the temptation to make changes too quickly. Take your first 90 days to thoroughly analyze the current situation, earn people’s trust, and co-create an initial plan of attack with your team. 

  2. Understand What Makes the Company Tick
    Especially if you are new to the industry or the company, learn all you can about how the organization makes money, serves customers, and gets work done. Research the business from the point of view of investor information, financial reports, and press releases. To be a successful new leader, you need to have a solid grasp of the strategic and cultural context that you and your team will be performing within.

    That means answering questions like:

    — What is the company’s overall vision, mission, and values?
    — Who are our ideal target customers?
    — What is our unique value proposition?
    — What are the companies top 5 strategic priorities?
    — How is individual, team, and company success measured?
    — What are the team norms and behavioral expectations of how work gets done and decisions get made? 

  3. Know Where You Fit
    Understand the line of sight between your team and the company’s strategic priorities.  Your new title alone does not necessarily define your role. It is up to you to investigate what expectations stakeholders have of you and your team.

    These stakeholders include your team members, your peers, your superiors, your clients, your partners, and even your customers’ customers. How can you deliver on those expectations until you have a clear picture of what role others expect you to fill?  You will know you are headed in the right direction when you and your key stakeholders agree upon your team’s:

    — Goals
    — Roles
    — Processes
    — Scope
    — Success Metrics
    — Interdependencies

  4. Respect the New Learning Curve
    Often new managers are their own worst enemies. Too many new leaders let power go to their head, want to make a big splash, and hope to be quickly heralded as the savior. This is not realistic.

    Leading others is not easy.  Be patient and humble as you learn all you need to learn in order to be effective in your new role.

The Bottom Line
Though new managers want to be perceived as eminently competent, you can earn that reputation by first displaying curiosity, listening well, and learning all you can about your team, the company and the culture. Be open. Show that you are eager to learn about the new team and their goals and that you are committed to the team’s success through your leadership.

To learn more about how to successfully transition into a new managerial role, download 7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Alignment with Goals

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