So, you’re climbing the ladder of success and you just became a manager. The shift to this new role may have been something to brag about, but the fact is that many may feel out of place and find that stepping into the new role can be quite challenging! While running a workshop on this topic for a number of years, I found that many people struggled with transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager. Adapting to this new role is a big adjustment, especially when you do not know where to start.
So, what’s the first step?
I say—define a role model!
What kind of manager do you want to be? If your job was to do what you did before, you would still be where you were. As a manager, you have to let go of what you are used to doing. Stop thinking about who you are and start thinking about who you want to be.
Identify: List the best and worst managers you have had, and write down the characteristics you want to exhibit and those you want to avoid. Pros and cons lists work great for this!
Develop a Style: Use the positive traits you listed to build a management style that reflects the manager you want to be.
Develop a Plan: Use the negative traits you listed to build a plan on how to define yourself as a leader. For example, one of your negative traits may have included a lack of communication. Use this to figure out how you plan to communicate effectively with your team members.
Think about all the traits you identified, and establish some role models. These role models could be alive or dead, real or fictitious. Think from their perspective, do what they would do in the situations you face.
Adapting to new situations is a skill, and knowing who you should be and who you want to be is instrumental in guiding your transition. The first step—role play your role model!
Homework: Make a list of all the role models you identified earlier. Divide them in half and eliminate until you get to the one. Act and be that role model. At first it may be difficult to be the role model—just role play!