Madeleine Homan-Blanchard, the co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services Division has a soft spot for new managers. She understands the challenges people face when they make the shift from an individual contributor to a supervisor.
To help with the transition, Homan-Blanchard recommends that new managers take a minute to catch their breath and then review a couple of the new changes in their life. Three things—getting comfortable with being a beginner again, scoring some early wins, and learning how to ask for help—can make the transition smoother.
- Being a beginner again. This is the first shock that many new managers experience and it can be a big one. Making the shift from being a highly-competent individual contributor to a new life as a rookie manager can be a humbling experience. The important thing is how you react to it. If you respond by acting like you know it all, you’re going to be in trouble. If you recognize that your new at this, and need a lot of direction and support, you’ll increase your chances of success.
- Score some early wins. New managers need to establish some credibility and confidence among the people they’re leading. One good way to do this is by finding a relatively simple project, something small that can generate an early win. Nothing builds confidence like success.
- Ask for help. Sometimes new managers fall into a trap of thinking that they are supposed to have all the answers now. Remember that you’re new at this. If anything, you’ve probably got more to learn than ever before. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Pretending you have all the answers, or stumbling ahead when you don’t, is. Find someone in the organization you admire as a good leader and pursue a possible mentoring relationship. (Not your new boss, by the way.) Take them to lunch, pick their brain, and learn everything you can.
To read more about Homan-Blanchard’s thinking on how to start fast as a new manager, be sure to check out First Time Manager, It’s Not Just About You Anymore. You can also access a webinar that has even more advice on making your first year a good one. Survival Skills for First-Year Managers webinar recording