Management Success Series Tip #1 – Your First Day as Manager


The Transition to Management


It’s a common experience.  You left work on Friday afternoon thinking about your weekend plans.  On Friday you were just a team member and part of the “crew.”  On Friday, you were given your tasks and were not responsible for what others did.  Sure, you were part of a team, but you were pretty much responsible for yourself.  Then, on Monday you start your first day on the job as a manager.  You finally got that promotion and seized the opportunity.  On Monday, you’re at the helm and in charge of that “crew” that you were a part of on Friday.  Now what?

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The moment you become a manager of people you are responsible for getting things done and getting the best out of your people and organization.  I met with an employee today who we have been grooming to take a managerial position within our firm.  He will take this position in the next couple months, so today we sat down to talk about how he can start to prepare.

This employee, we’ll call him Mike, has around 15 years of experience.  He is a natural leader and is well respected in the office for his knowledge and experience.  Because he is well respected, when it comes to working with other departments, such as our testing group or our finance team, he has historically been able to simply throw things over the wall and wait for them to come back.  This is common place in business – different departments depend on one another to get the job done.

Mike and I have previously talked at length about how things will change when he becomes a manager.  Today we talked about the importance of influence.  Upon becoming a manager, Mike’s throw-it-over-the-wall approach will need to switch to pushing and pulling the wall.  I told him that managers do not just assign work and make sure things get done.  I explained to him that as a manager, he will also need to exert influence on other individuals and teams.

At the foundation, influence is built on relationships and trust.  Managers need to exert influence to successfully work with other teams in the organization.  Your influence as a leader will help you guide employees who are struggling to solve a problem.  Sometimes influence is needed to get certain decisions made to protect your team.  And sometimes it simply comes down to using your influence to solicit help for others.

Further, having a positive influence as a manager is knowing which levers to push, which strings to pull and which buttons to press to help you and your team accomplish the mission.  Having a positive influence will help you address performance issues and will help you build a network of support for new initiatives.  Simply put, managers who exert a positive influence get more done.

Creating and maintaining a positive influence in the office is a key ingredient to becoming a good manager.  And your level of influence throughout your organization will help you be more effective in getting things done. So if you’re like Mike and are starting your managerial career soon, or have been doing it for a while, building and exerting your influence will help you be successful.

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