Two Ways to Consider A New Manager Role

bigstock-Portrait-of-a-cute-young-busin-26975363Stepping up from successful individual contributor to new manager creates a conundrum: Is it about you and proving yourself in your new role, or is it about them—the team—your direct reports?

The quick answer is:  It’s about both you and your team. There are two ways to look at your new role.

First, it’s about you. It’s about you in terms of your ability to show the way, provide hope, stay optimistic, and be a positive role model. It’s about your willingness to listen well to your people and hear their concerns and new ideas. It’s about you having the courage to say what needs to be said—to your people, your peers or your boss—on behalf of your team.  It’s about you using your corporate machete to create career paths for your people through your company’s jungle. It’s about teaching and explaining (again) and supporting and encouraging (always).  It’s about noticing the true condition of your most valuable corporate resource—the people under your care.

Second, it’s about them. Are your people’s roles and goals clear?  Do they have a voice and a forum with you to express themselves? Your direct reports are ambitious. They want to know they can trust you with their careers and that you have their best interests at heart. They want to know their time with you is well spent. They want to know the vision and the plan. They want to learn and grow. It’s about them and whether they stay—stay working for your company, stay with you in your department, stay loyal, stay engaged, stay positive, stay current, and stay successful.

No one says becoming a good manager is easy. But it’s not so tricky if you believe at your core that your job is to help others succeed and that, by so doing, you too will succeed. Ken Blanchard asks this question to those who aspire to leadership: “Are you here to serve or to be served?”  Your response to Ken’s question will set the tone for your new management career.

For new managers, there are many ways to leave a positive mark.  Look at what your people need from you and look inside yourself for ways to meet their needs. Ironically, meeting their needs will, in turn, meet your needs as a new manager.

About the author:

Cathy Huett is Director, Professional Services at The Ken Blanchard Companies.  This is the second in a series of posts specifically geared toward new and emerging leaders.

8 thoughts on “Two Ways to Consider A New Manager Role

  1. Hi Cathy,
    Good points in your article. However, I may assure you that most of times you leave a positive mark to your people but not to the Company. It depends on the local culture. If your boss and your peers have a certain local culture of “yesmen” or work under a “paternalistic management model”, you will for sure have problems.
    It happened to me. Some years ago, I worked for an international company and used to follow their international principles or guidelines. You know what happened to me? For having the courage to say to my peers and my boss that they should follow the international (as requested by the Head Office) I had to face a Mobbing episode ending by sending me out of the Company.
    For saying, in theory “they” always agree with the determined principles, but in practice they try to be “nice” to other executive managers in order to maintain or improve their career evolution.
    Now, I still continue to be loyal to my personality but I am much more carefull with others…
    M. Rodrigues

  2. Dear M,
    > I’m sorry to hear about your experience with your prior company. There are always going to be organizations that stick to old command and control cultures. When that happens, I’ve always found that you can either bloom where you’re planted and try to live a good example for others or leave if that just doesn’t seem like an option. I’m hoping you’ve found another organization that has a more enlightened leadership mentality–they are out there!

  3. I think this article is well written and spot on. We often forget that a new manager has not been coached or trained on being a manager. They were chosen because they were the best at their previous job. That does not quality them or automatically make them a good manager. Cathy, you did a great job of explaining two ways to create a successful environment where a newly promoted employee can flourish and succeed. Well done 🙂

  4. Definitely is a matter of taking a dual step: acting as a role model and being recognized as a leader on your side, while finding a new “comfort zone” on your people side.

    Is quite a difficult balance to be found, but the alchemy is the basic to have a successful cooperation.

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