Five tips to ease the transition into management

Moving from an operational role, or junior capacity, to managerial status is an exciting transition for anyone. But, more often than not, there is no blueprint or guidebook for success. Which can make those first few months an especially steep learning curve. So PIF has compiled five failsafe strategies to help make you a better boss.

1. Learn the ropes

Whether you've moved to a brand new company, or you've made the step up with an internal promotion, the view from your new perch is an entirely different perspective to what you're used to.

You might think you know it all and that you've got the exact prerequisite skills and knowledge to make an impact. But just slow down. Take a step back and use the honeymoon period to listen, learn and sponge up everything that's happening around you.

Ask plenty of questions and take real note of the answers, not just your perceived interpretations. Seek out the veteran campaigners and pump them for organisational insights to help assess what's historically worked and which unsuccessful procedures can safely be trimmed.

2. A helping hand

It can be a lonely old place at the top. You're in the firing line, being judged, carrying the can for performance outcomes and staff morale. But you don't have to be an island.

Network with colleagues and mentors

We can all pinpoint inspirational figures who have had a resounding influence on our professional habits and business beliefs. Get in touch with them, or other suitable mentors, to pick their brains when those insidious moments of doubt creep into your head.

Wouldn't it be nice if eventually you were the one being called on for advice after shaping the career trajectory of one of your young charges?

3. Set clear goals

You've got your feet beneath the desk, your staff await your orders with bated breath and pricked ears. Now make the most of it.

Lay down your goals for the short to long-term. Clearly define everyone's roles in achieving those targets, which will of course be realistic and motivational.

Global benchmarking

Make sure you've benchmarked current performance, so that you can demonstrate the impact of your influence and superior man-management skills.

4. Keep your guard up

Let's get one thing straight; gone are the days you can whine about perceived injustices (especially rough treatment from the boss. Err, that's you now champ!). Or tell your colleagues in no uncertain terms that their idiosyncratic work habits are an irritant.

With power comes great responsibility. There is a very fine line between engaging with your peers on a personal basis, to get to know what makes them tick, and crossing professional boundaries by revealing too much about your own personal life and views.

The same can be said for the way you react to high pressure or confrontational situations. You have to be unflappable. Yours is the higher ground – take it and have the courage of your convictions.

5. Walk the walk

Just because you've got your nice big office and a shiny name plaque to speak of doesn't automatically grant you the respect of your co-workers. Your reputation and CV only count for so much.

Action, as they say, speaks louder than words. Your team want to know that you're a safe pair of hands, a pair of hands that are only too willing to be dirtied with menial operational tasks if it means getting the job done.

Get amongst them. Have a regular presence on the shop floor and break down that ivory tower perception by getting to know your personnel and the roles they play in the grand scheme of the organisation. After all, why should they follow your lead if you don't understand what they do all day every day.

For more managerial advice, check out Bloomberg Businessweek's 'Twenty Tips for First-Time Managers.'

Get the latest process industry news

Interested in receiving even more industry-leading news from Process Industry Forum delivered directly to your inbox? Then sign up to our free newsletter. Bringing you the latest news, trends, innovations and opinion from across the process industry, our exclusive newsletter gives you all the industry insights of the moment in one, easy-to-digest bulletin. Stay ahead of the competition with regular process industry news instalments from PIF.

    Our Partners