The Reluctant New Manager: Making The Transition Part 2

March 18, 2010 -- Sal Silvester

In part 1 of The Reluctant New Manager: Making The Transition, I talked about two sets of symptoms that may indicate a new manager is struggling. One set of symptoms had to do with a fear of "not being accepted" and the second set was related to a fear of "losing control." Some new managers will only exhibit symptoms from one of these categories, but often a mixture of the two are present. Also in Part 1, I introduced the concept that true leaders balance the opposing characteristics of being demanding and empathetic. In addition, I established that credibility and trust are the cornerstones of good leadership and can only be developed when a leader's actions are aligned with their words.

But let's take this a step further.

New managers who struggle because of a fear of acceptance can "lead by example" by shifting from:
- being vague about what they are asking for.....to being assertive by providing direct and specific expectations
- being hands-off for fear of imposing.....to providing specific direction and following up as needed
- worrying about what their people will think of them.....to focusing on what is right for the team and the business
- avoiding conflict and difficult conversations.....to encouraging people to challenge ideas, providing timely feedback, and not "putting up with" poor performance

These new managers often need to add an additional sprinkle of "being demanding."

New managers who struggle because of a fear of loss of control can "lead by example" by shifting from:
- micromanaging tasks and people.....to setting clear expectations, providing necessary support, and following up at regular intervals
- communicating aggressively.....to communicating assertively - being direct, yet professional
- sharing only relevant information.....to being transparent
- being overly focused on tasks and results.....to recognizing and encouraging people who created the results

These new managers often need to add an additional sprinkle of "empathy" into their style.

So, if you are making the transition from peer to manager, respond to the following:

1. Are you struggling due to a fear of not being accepted or a concern for a loss of control?
2. Do you need to add a sprinkle of "being demanding" or "empathy" in how you lead by example?
3. What else can you do to make sure your actions are aligned with your words?

Stay tuned for part 3 of the Reluctant new Manager where we'll examine how new managers can align the actions of the overall team.

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