If you’re working toward a promotion to a management position, proving you’re ready is only one part of the process. To be a strong manager, you must be a problem solver at the highest level. It’s important to discover what you don’t know yet. In addition to assembling tangible examples that demonstrate your management credentials, conduct an objective assessment of gaps in your experience, knowledge, and management skills. To find out what skills and knowledge you need to develop or improve to become an effective first-time manager, ask yourself these 10 questions.
Moving into management for the first time is an important career milestone. I can still remember the exact moment when I knew I was going to lead a team. I patiently, but persistently, continued my promotion. I strategically changed jobs to put myself on a fast track to managing a large company with a good reputation. I was convinced that I was ready. After I celebrated the announcement of my promotion to management, I quickly discovered that I still had a lot to learn.
My decision to pursue a promotion began with analyzing the leadership landscape in my workplace. I began to think of comparing my own strengths and achievements with theirs. I find myself thinking about the occasions when I was publicly praised by someone important about the impact of my work, or the times when someone thanked me privately for completing an important task.
As a career coach, I hear similar stories from professionals I support who are actively pursuing promotions. Your results, abilities, and external validation are important. But to be an effective manager, it’s important to know what you don’t already know. In addition to assembling tangible examples that demonstrate your management credentials, conduct an objective assessment of gaps in your experience, knowledge, and management skills.
I say this with emphasis, not to hold you back, but to push you forward. To be a strong manager, you must be a problem solver at the highest level. As you prepare for your next step, I want you to think beyond making sure you’re ready for a promotion. I want you to be proactive in creating a career growth plan that will enable you to navigate the transition and continue to learn in your intended role.
My work as a career coach is centered around asking questions, reflecting on answers, identifying gaps and weaknesses, and taking steps to address them. As a first step, the self-assessment questions I get in coaching sessions can start to ignite ideas and illuminate challenges. To find out what skills and knowledge you need to develop or improve to become an effective first-time manager, ask yourself these 10 questions.
What is my leadership style?
Your leadership style comes from a combination of your strengths, personality, and values combined with your vision and goals. Reflect on each of these components and then decide what you want to be known for. Remember, you can adapt your approach over time as you continue to learn and improve.
How can I help my team improve?
Understanding how to measure performance and assess your team’s gaps and growth opportunities is essential to your role as a manager. Take the time to think about how your promotion will affect team structures and dynamics. Brainstorm potential opportunities to play a key role in team development.
How can I prioritize and delegate work effectively?
I am often asked to support managers who are struggling to meet competitive demands. Learning how to prioritize and delegate effectively can make or break your success as a team leader. It will take time to figure out. As you do, keep asking yourself questions like: What do I need to stop? What else do I need to do? What should I proceed with? How do I provide oversight and accountability?
Am I a good public speaker, and can I lead meetings?
How you communicate as a manager is a key driver of how you assign work, drive engagement, and share information with multiple stakeholders. This is often done through meetings. As you prepare to take the next step in management, take an honest assessment of your communication skills and assess your comfort level when it comes to leading meetings and presenting to large groups.
How do I provide constructive feedback and resolve conflict?
Providing guidance, addressing performance gaps, and solving problems are important management responsibilities. Think about issues you may have witnessed with coworkers regarding processes, projects, or interpersonal dynamics. What did you learn from what you observed? What skills do you need to manage performance and resolve conflict when needed?
What are your company’s policies for health, safety, and regulatory requirements?
Your company’s HR team will take the lead in making sure employees undergo the necessary training on company policies, but now is a good time to familiarize yourself with your employee handbook and HR resources. As a manager, your team members will come to you with questions, and you will be responsible for helping to ensure that the entire company follows protocols and policies.
Am I familiar with state and federal employment laws?
Again, your HR team will be responsible for employment law guidance that affects how you work, and it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the company’s guidelines and stay up-to-date on any relevant news or discussions. of legislative changes. A prime example of rapidly changing regulations occurred during the pandemic when US federal, state, and local governments introduced new workplace Covid-19 protections to protect health and worker safety.
How can I handle questions related to the company’s compensation strategy, profit sharing, benefits, and equity planning?
As an employee, it is important to understand the composition of your salary. As a manager responsible for a team, you will likely receive questions from team members related to compensation, benefits, and time policies. After your promotion to a management role, you should be prepared for confidential discussions that may include eligibility for overtime pay for exempt and nonexempt employees, financial data from fiscal year cycles, open enrollment periods for benefits, and company protocols for compensation decisions.
Did I participate fully in the recruitment process?
As a manager, you must participate in the implementation of personnel plans. The full recruitment cycle ranges from assessing needs and creating job descriptions to selecting candidates, extending offers, and onboarding new employees. When a promotion announces your first time participating in the recruitment process, be prepared to ask your HR team for guidance on procedures and best practices.
Am I aware of the latest diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices?
Understanding whether your organization has DEI guidelines or resources can help you answer questions or clarify the processes you will oversee in your role. In addition, you can keep track of broader DEI developments and news that may affect your new responsibilities. A current example is the rollout of new pay transparency laws to address pay equity in a growing number of states, including Rhode Island, Washington, New York, and California.
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Pursuing a promotion effectively is more than landing a new title. This is a valuable opportunity to consider the strengths, attitudes, skills, and knowledge that will support you, as well as the weaknesses, skill gaps, and lack of exposure that will make you less effective in long time. With an objective assessment, you can take actionable next steps to prepare you for future management success.