How to Transition into Your First Management Role


So you’re about to make the jump to a more senior role, and it’s time to step up to the plate. Are you overwhelmed with where to start?

That’s normal. When shifting dynamics and positions, there’s often a lot of pressure and expectations that you’re up against. Nerves are normal. But as a budding new leader, it’s time to hit the ground running.

Here are our best tips when it comes to making the translation into a management position.

The teacher becomes the student.

You might have made it to the big leagues, but in a way, you’re back to where you started. Sure, you might know the organisation like the back of your hand. But being a manager is a whole different ball game, an entirely new experience. This is your time to learn and soak in as much knowledge as possible.

Mentorship, mentorship, mentorship!

Networking is paramount to your success as a manager. Reach out to other leaders and read up as much as possible on the field. The best way to get the ball rolling is to take a management course. 

Every new manager wants to make their mark; after all, it’s finally your chance to call the shots. Yes, it’s your time to shine, but the most important part of any management role is keeping the ship afloat.

Get to know the team better.

Find out what drives your team and their individual strengths so you can allocate tasks appropriately, as everyone has a different way of working.

Meet with everyone face to face often; understand what they expect from you and what tools and resources you need to provide.

Hold yourself accountable.

Where is there room for improvement? It’s essential to reflect on your management style constantly. Confidence is crucial as a manager, but your ego will only hold you back. 

Your managerial skills won’t develop overnight; the odds are there’ll be some hits and misses.

Take things one step at a time.

Where do you see the organisation heading in the next 12 months? Make a yearly plan and break it up into smaller increments so you can focus on a few things rather than getting lost in an endless sea of tasks.

Ambition is vital, in healthy doses, but try not to get ahead of yourself and the team. Make sure each short term task is manageable, then set your sights on the future once things are underway.

Micromanaging is a major no-no.

At some point, with most team members, you have to step back, relinquish control and just support. Focus on leading by example: inspiring and influencing rather than monitoring work at all times.

Micromanagers are terrified of failure; the best managers embrace it as an opportunity to evolve.

Remember: your team is your first priority—that and building a sense of trust. Be clear about expectations, ask your team what they’ve been working on, what information they need to get the job done, and set future goals.

Provide everything they need to be empowered to go off and get the job done. Then, take a step back. Offer your support, but don’t hover over them.

A good headspace equals a good workplace. 

If you’re only giving feedback when something negative happens, you’re doing it all wrong. Positive feedback is what motivates us, not our managers tearing us down constantly.

Find out what’s working and what’s not working, but try not to blame everything on a single individual. When push comes to shove, leadership is what makes or breaks an organisation.

Perfectionism is your worst enemy.

Learning how to adapt is central to your survival as a manager. Strategies fall through, and new ideas come along. What worked before might not work anymore, and what seemed like the best course of action on paper might not translate in real life.

Some (not very good) managers think, ‘it’s my way or the highway.’ Instead of being hung up about something, maintain a thirst for inquiry—Book in regular meetings and reviews with your boss and team members.

Transparency is integral to any organisation, so ensure that your coworkers can voice any issues and everyone is on the same page.

Be mindful of your impossible expectations, and adjust them accordingly.

Want to kick start your managerial career the right way? Pathways have the in-person or online management course you need for your professional development.