Once you’ve reached the level of managing managers on your team, your professional development focus shifts considerably. It’s up to you to provide the environment, context, and motivation that serves as rocket fuel for your new managers.
The transition from individual contributor to new manager is awkward and filled with unexpected challenges. Our free mini-course, Overcoming and Succeeding with the Top 5 Challenges of New Managers, is filled with practical advice to help smooth a few of the bumps out of the journey.
My online dictionary defines conundrum as a confusing or difficult problem. The dictionary editors might as well use the act of moving from individual contributor to new manager as the leading example.
There are no courses, books, or even alchemical formulas that replace the hard work essential for learning to lead. Here are 10 hard-won lessons for anyone in search of success as a leader:
Here’s some guidance to help new managers move beyond that early feeling of disorientation and start strong.
The gravitational pull of the status quo is powerful in every organization. It takes rebels and rebellion to change. While breaking the rules always comes with risk, learning to guide others through constructive rule-breaking in pursuit of needed changes is a great way to grow your success.
Challenging conversations are inherent in a manager's job, yet this knowledge doesn't make it any easier when you have to sit down and let a good person know they're not cutting it and it's time for them to go. While you own doing everything in your power to coach, train, and support them, in some instances, the individual's abilities don't match up with your firm's and the job's needs. Here's guidance on handling this tough situation with clarity and empathy.
The heart of your professional and leadership development must be seeking out conversations for growth. It takes a bit of courage and deliberate effort, but the results are potentially life and career changing.
Imagine there was a tool at your disposal that would help reinforce in real-time the behaviors of group members that moved the performance numbers in the right direction. Or, a tool that would get people motivated to learn, grow, and leave behind less-than-ideal behaviors in favor of new approaches and continuous improvement. Wouldn’t this be helpful? Well, there is. It’s called performance feedback. And sadly, it’s often missing-in-action, misapplied, or, applied inconsistently, and that’s just leaving money and morale on the table.
The work of developing new managers and setting them up to emerge as our future leaders is mission critical. I've devoted much of my career to this good work and am excited to launch First-Time Managers Academy—a new approach for this important cause.