Upward mobility is an important part of any job. Very few people want to remain stagnant in their careers, working in the same position for years with no end in sight, becoming a member of the cult of the working dead.
People want to be acknowledged for a job well done, especially after pouring their energy and time into their work, and a promotion is the best way for senior management to convey appreciation to standout employees.
Promotions are incredibly appealing for obvious reasons (improved salary, better benefits), but they also have the potential to make your job awkward, stressful and difficult.
Simply put, it’s one thing to enter a completely new environment in a supervisory capacity with managerial experience under your belt; quite another to go from being a face in the crowd to a manager.
One of the major adjustments you have to contend with during your transition from standard employee to manager is the increased accountability that accompanies your new leadership position.
As a manager, your success in the office is no longer tied to the quality of your work; you are now responsible for the performance of your entire team. You need to adopt a new group-centric approach to work, as you must effectively motivate employees to ensure productivity.
Many new managers fall short in this aspect of managing; they place more of an emphasis on forming strong relationships with individual members and focusing on individual performance than creating an environment where the group is most likely to realize its potential.
Pay less attention to cultivating individual relationships to ensure success and pay more attention to defining and strengthening your team culture by outlining objectives, standards and any other issues of importance to the team.
Another challenge that many new managers face is making the power associated with their new position a reality.
Some new managers naively think that because they have a new title and formal authority over a team, they will automatically secure team members’ respect. In reality, new managers must show team members that they possess desirable leadership traits, and team members will, in turn, view the manager as a legitimate authority figure.
First and foremost, team members need to know that you’re on their side, so be sure to convey your intentions and desires as manager. By communicating honestly with team members, you’ll contribute to the development of an open team culture, which helps drive performance.
You have to demonstrate your ability to manage by striking the right balance between talking and doling out orders, and listening and giving team members space to work and explore.
You also must show that your title translates into something of note within the bigger organization. When team members see that you have some standing within the hierarchy, they’ll recognize you as an authority figure.
Lastly, new managers must recognize that with power comes responsibility. It’s a common assumption (and wish) that those in power have more control and are less beholden to the rules of the company than regular employees, especially if the previous manager at your company was well known for doing absolutely nothing.
In reality, your power means you get to peek behind the curtain, and now you’re responsible for more things than you could have possibly imagined. Not only do you have to deal with the demands facing your team; you have to address the demands coming from your boss, your peers and people outside the company.
It’s a lot of pressure, and it can be quite overwhelming. To be a great manager, you have to figure out the best way to navigate this terrain of endless, interconnected relationships, and you’ll be able to use these relationships to achieve your goals and elevate your team’s performance.
New managers face numerous challenges, some expected and many unexpected. It’s impossible to know what it will be like before your first day, but by acknowledging some hard truths about the job, you’ll be better prepared to tackle whatever comes your way.
Are you a manager? What were some of the unexpected obstacles you encountered at the beginning of your managerial career?
Sarah Fudin currently works as an inbound marketing manager for George Washington University’s online MPH degree, which provides prospective students the ability to earn a Masters degree in public health. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.