New Managers: Do you have these four skills in your toolkit?

Congratulations!  You made it.  You got the promotion.  You finally earned the title you’ve had your sights set on.  Now what?

The truth is many new managers experience a real challenge in finding their niche in their new role.

The primary reason for frustration is understanding that the skills that earned the promotion are not necessarily the same skills that will make you a successful manager.


Often, employees are promoted for their tactical or industry expertise.  “Bob is a great accountant so let’s promote him to manage the accountants.”  The truth is – we actually set Bob up for failure.

For those of you who have been promoted from within the ranks or are a new supervisor, here are four skills that will ensure your success as a leader:

#1  Horizontal versus Vertical
Doing the job – whatever it was – required great depth of skill.  You knew your role inside and out.  As a leader, your span of control has expanded to include not only the performance of each person on your team (and their vertical perspective), but also understanding and managing other departments and relationships across the organization, in other words, the horizontal perspective.  This can be one of the hardest transitions for a new leader.

#2   Tell ‘em where we’re going.
The most important information you can share with your team is a sense of direction.  You may not be the creator of the strategic plan, but you can help the team know how they fit into the bigger picture.  Be the point of contact for information and be generous in sharing it.  It’s your first step in keeping your team engaged.

#3 You are the coach – not a teammate.
For leaders promoted from within the team, this is the one of the hardest transitions.  It is critical that you begin to think and act like a coach versus one of the team.  It starts with setting clear expectations and most importantly, realizing you won’t have all the answers.  But honest feedback for both positive accomplishments as well as areas of improvement will earn the trust and respect of a new team.

#4 Get out of the way.
A big part of your job sounds crazy but you have to get out of the way and let your team do what they do well.  Your role as leader is more of a project manager which means in part, you remove barriers that get in the way of your team’s progress. 

Every new role requires a learning curve.  With these four skills, your confidence and success as a new supervisor can really take off.

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