You’ve just been promoted. Congratulations. Do you know what to do now? I didn’t. When I first became a manager I was completely in over my head. Talk about “impostor syndrome”. I was so clueless that I didn’t even know who reported to me and who didn’t.
But now, after leading multiple teams and hundreds of people, I can tell you exactly what you need to know to, not only look like you know what you’re doing, but to really know what you’re doing.
- The first thing to do is to talk to your new boss and determine what she expects from you. Don’t go to HR or to the manager that hired you (unless that manager is now your direct boss). You need to set up everyone’s expectations immediately so that there is no confusion later. Talking to HR or a higher manager on the org chart will only serve to confuse you and what you need to focus on. Your new direct boss is the one that will be filling out your annual review. She’s also the person that you will likely pass your work on to. Therefore, her expectations are all that matter.
- Once you are clear on what your mission is relative to your new team, you need to learn everything you can about them, their histories, and their interpersonal relationships among each other and the rest of the organization. These are the people that will actually get the work done for you. You can’t lead them unless you know them. You can’t effectively assign them work unless you know who they work well with and why. Work gets done by people and people are social beings. And, as such, their work output and effectiveness is directly related to who they are working with and how they get along. If a couple of your team members don’t get along, you need to know that ASAP.
- You also have to realize that you are now the boss. This can be especially hard if you were promoted from within the team to now be the manager of your former peers. You are now a manager and, in general, managers are not responsible for a lot of direct output. Your job is to get the work done through other people. That’s the definition of management. From number 1 above, you know what your team is expected to accomplish so focus on having your new team work on the specific tasks that lead to the bigger goal.
- The final priority that I’ll mention here is that you have to set an example. To your team, you are the company. And, as such, everything they see you do is automatically assumed to be what the company wants you to do. If you break the rules, then the rules won’t matter to your team. If you don’t stick up for your team, then they will assume the company doesn’t care about them. By the same token, if you support your team and abide by the company requirements, then your team will feel reassured that the rules matter and you’re there for them.
One last thing to do is to find a mentor. Maybe that’s your boss, or maybe not. You need to find someone in your organization that you can talk to and get advice from. Someone that knows your organization, how it works, and who to go to when you have specific problems. Whatever situation arises, there’s probably someone else that’s faced it before.
In addition to a mentor in your organization, it’s good to have a virtual mentor as well. That’s where Simplified Management comes in. Sign up for my email list and never miss any of my posts and get my weekly newsletter emailed right to your inbox.
As always, enjoy your management journey.