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A smooth transition into your new role

Valerie Nichols

Five tips can help newly-promoted managers make a smooth transition into their new role, says Valerie Nichols, Executive Consultant of learning and development company Hemsley Fraser

Congratulations, you’ve just been selected for your first or next supervisory or managerial position! For many people, the first rush of elation is quickly followed by a surge of anxiety – what if my skills don’t translate? What if the employees don’t respond to my direction? How do I get to know what the issues are? What if I fail?

Whether you’re moving up in your current organisation or joining a new one, you’ve got your work cut out. The maxim that ‘those who fail to plan are planning to fail’ is particularly true for anyone who starts a new managerial position. Here are five tips to help you make a smoother transition:

Take action before you start your new position

Once you begin your new position, time will become a limited asset, so the time to start your transition is as soon as you know it will happen. This is your opportunity to assess the organisation and its environment. Evaluate your own strengths and opportunities for improvement so that you can leverage the first and address the second. Learning as much as possible about yourself and the organisation will help you build momentum as you begin your new journey. 
 

Plan your first day carefully

You only have one chance to make a first impression – with your new employees, your new boss, and everyone else you come into contact with. What you do on your first day – and who you do it with ¬– will be watched by everyone and meaning will be ascribed to it. Will you allow others to dictate how you spend your time? Do you have a specific agenda for the day and a plan to meet – quickly – with all of your staff?

Build immediate credibility

During the first 30 days, you will want to develop relationships with your employees, key support personnel, peers, and superiors. While there are likely to be significant demands on your time, always make the effort to talk to your employees. Managing your time will be particularly important. Prioritise, delegate and don’t make changes for the sake of it. However, be prepared to take action quickly where it is warranted. As the new set of eyes, you may be able to see so-called low hanging fruit that others have overlooked (‘but we’ve always done it that way’). Be careful, however, not to pick fruit simply because it is easy to reach. Whatever you plan to do must be feasible, attainable and, most importantly, should matter to your boss and those above him or her. If you pick fruit with care, you will send the message that you are able to accomplish goals, which will set a foundation for realising your longer-term aspirations.
    

Align with your internal and external organisation 

Organisational alignment refers to operating with shared purpose and strategies to realise the organisation’s mission. You will need to assess the degree to which your employees and the processes and systems that they use are aligned to meet the organisational vision, mission, values and goals. You will want to know the extent to which your employees understand the direction and goals of the business. Who are the influencers in your organisation and how do they exercise their influence? How does internal communication function and how can you develop that capacity?       

Set supportive routines

Finally, you will want to set routines that will help you to continuously assess and reassess the way you work. This will include setting up a communications system internally and externally to help reinforce your messages and to build coalitions and buy-in. It also will include managing the systems you choose to use to facilitate ongoing relationships. Set your strategies and ensure you put processes in place to continually refine those strategies as circumstances change. This will ensure that you remain flexible enough to survive in an ever-changing environment. 

These tips can help you to hit the ground running in your new role. Then you can start preparing for your next career transition!



Valerie Nichols is an Executive Consultant with Hemsley Fraser, the learning and development company. She can be contacted via valerie.nichols@hemsleyfraser.com

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