How to be a Great Business Manager
Your hard work and dedication have paid off with a promotion to the management team – that is great news! But after the excitement wears off, you are now faced with the fact that you are going to have to manage a team, perhaps made of many of your former peers. Not to worry – as industry insiders like George Bardwil can tell you, there are some tried and true strategies that you can consider in order to become an effective business manager.
Establish the new rules
Just as your former manager will have to define a new relationship with you now that you are a part of the management team, you will need to define new relationships with your former peers. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of transitioning into your new role. If you had close friendships with people in your former position, there is no requirement that this will change – however, the onus will be on you to be very clear about the need to wear different hats and to make sure that personal issues do not interfere with work decisions. It may be awkward, but it is a good idea to have an open conversation about this situation with your former peers – chances are they will have similar concerns, and will most likely appreciate the opportunity to clear air.
Look for a mentor
It may be policy in your organization to assign a mentor to new management staff to provide guidance and advice not only on the transition but also to help share institutional knowledge about management practices, traditions and expectations. If this is not the case, there is nothing to prevent you from seeking out a mentor on your own, either in your organization or elsewhere. Try to identify someone whose management style you would like to emulate.
Especially if you are unable to identify a mentor, take some time to reflect on past managers that you have worked with, and consider what it is that you found effective or perhaps ineffective about how they did their job. Until you find your own management style, you may find it helpful to filter your reactions in particular situations against what an admired or effective manager may have done.
Even though you may have worked a number of years in a particular firm or industry, you will quickly find out that you have a lot to learn. As a manager, your perspective will necessarily be broader, perhaps because you will now have responsibilities over several different teams or departments. You will now be expected to take account of a wider range of things or issues, and to upgrade your skills either officially or unofficially.
Taking on your new role as a manager can be exciting and a bit stressful – remember, you were selected by your bosses because they have confidence in your ability to rise to the challenge. Take it slowly and take it seriously – and don ‘t be afraid to ask for advice or guidance from people your respect.