So You’ve Been Promoted to Manager…Now What?

Jolene Pilgrim
15 Aug 2018

Hey, look at that, you got a promotion!  Congrats! With that title change, you’ve managed to score a larger paycheck, bigger office, and invitations to all the “senior class” events.  When it comes to career goals, you’ve finally made it. Before you go popping that champagne cork, however, there’s a teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy detail that your company forgot to mention: you’re a manager.

Making that leap to management can be an exciting career step, but it also brings with it a whole host of additional responsibilities.  The first and foremost is a team of your very own employees, ready, willing and able to execute your game plan. You do have a plan, don’t you?  If the reality of more responsibility is starting to work it’s way in, never fear. Simply Hired has a suite of handy tips to help you navigate the leadership minefield and come out prepared and ready to continue climbing that corporate ladder.

Getting to Know Your Team

The first step you should take when landing a management role should involve getting your workforce in order.  If you haven’t been at the company long or were promoted from a different division, take some time to get to know your individual team members.  Each individual employee will have their individual duties, responsibilities and working styles.

To help get the best performance out of your crew as possible, and to help build trust and dedication, try scheduling one on one meetings.  Coffee or lunch meetings are also helpful as long as your tone stays on professional topics. Assess their individual strengths and take the time to ask if they have any feedback on the position as it stands or any concerns about the transition.  Setting the foundation with your team at the outset will pay off huge dividends if and when you start implementing your own program.

Setting a Leadership Tone

During the first few weeks as a newly minted manager, it’s important to set a professional and authoritative tone that builds trust within your team.  You will also want to establish a hierarchy, with yourself as a leader of the group. This step is especially important if your employees used to be fellow coworkers at a non-management level.  Many of the group may still want to socialize or commiserate the way you all did together in the past. Creating some professional distance and hard boundaries, however, will help make yours and your individual reports’ work lives less complicated and happier in the long run.  

Delegating, Assignments, and Deadlines

Another big skill most employees need to learn when jumping to the management role is the ability to delegate tasks.  As a non-management employee, you’re most likely used to taking direction from others and while you may have made suggestions you certainly were removed from the decision making process.

In your first few weeks as manager, make a list of tasks currently performed by your group or that will need to be performed as part of a new plan.  Have regular meetings and assign individual members these tasks along with a deadline for completion. In addition to initial tasks, don’t be afraid to break out portions of requests that come across your desk to more junior level team members.  This will not only empress the hierarchy to your team, it will also keep your time free for planning and implementing any necessary changes.

Communication is a Must

If you’ve been following along closely you’ve probably sensed a theme in all of the above suggestions that bears focusing on in its very own topic.  Communication is one of the key skills any manager can learn and develop in order to effectively navigate having direct reports. Set clear guidelines for performance and give hard deadlines for completion of projects.  If you’d like to know your team’s regular working hours, don’t be afraid to ask. Last but not least, consider scheduling regular weekly or monthly team meetings to check in on the status of projects and to address any concerns your team members may have.  Always be sure to set an agenda and call for agenda items in advance to provide a valuable guide to the discussion and to help avoid wasting time.

Odds and Ends

Last but not least are the peripheral tasks that come along with a promotion to manager.  In some cases, this step up may mean that you’ve made the move from hourly to salary with a similar flexibility of scheduling.  Despite the new optional hours, be sure to check in with your report to clarify the expectations of when you are to be in your newly improved office seat.

Management can also come with a host of HR and administrative duties.  Performance reviews are typically required yearly and are a critical part of the leadership process in that they help both you evaluate your reports and help your reports provide feedback on their job.  Some companies may require managers to approve time cards, salary raises, and yearly bonuses. Scheduling your team’s time off will also now be mission critical to avoid staffing shortages. Finally, many companies require managers to submit yearly budgets with line items dedicated to staffing, software needs, or project-specific funds.  If you’ve never prepared a budget before, seek assistance from your senior manager or an HR representative well in advance to avoid any surprises.

Closing Thoughts

Overall a promotion to manager is a positive experience.  It signals that your organization has faith in your skills and abilities and is ready to have you increase your responsibility by having a team and department of your very own.  Don’t let the changes and prep work you may need to do scare you out of a celebration. Keep our handy advice in mind and you’ll be well on your way to working your way up the management track.

Jolene Pilgrim