You've recently been promoted or hired to a new role and are now a manager. What next?
You’ve been promoted or maybe you’ve just been hired and you’re now a manager. On the one hand you’re excited but on the other you’re scared. Do you have the skills that you need?
Here’s some tips on what to do next:
Have you heard the saying ‘fake it till you make it?’ It may sound cheesy and like something you’ve seen on Instagram but acting as if you know what you’re doing until you know what you’re doing is a great technique (as long as you’re not going to make huge mistakes).
What this means is throwing yourself into the deep end of your new role, absorbing as much as you can, figuring things out as you go, and asking for support when you need it. Inside you may be lacking confidence but try not to show this. It’s okay to be vulnerable but if you sense a knowledge gap, don’t fess up to it right away, and be mindful about the impression you’re giving off to your team.
There is no requirement to be perfect but if you’re continually admitting your knowledge gaps your team will lose confidence. The best route is to see whether you can figure something out first and then ask for support if you’re struggling (remember Piper is a tool you can use too).
A big part of feeling confident is to feel like you’re learning new things and getting that sense of accomplishment each day.
This early stage can also feel exhausting because you’re taking in a lot of information each day but ultimately it’ll help you understand where you feel okay and where you’re going to need to reach out for help.
Use your team and their collective knowledge. Ask them to talk through their day to day task list, and if anything comes up that feels unfamiliar, note it down and then assess later whether this may be an area where you require some formalised training or if you can teach yourself with some online training.
Be kind to yourself. You are in this role for the long haul and don’t expect to know everything immediately. It would be odd if you had everything sussed so make sure you tell yourself positive messages and use self-care tools to keep your health as robust as possible (you can’t navigate change when you’re severely stressed and overwhelmed).
Another thing to embrace is the notion of adopting a growth mindset. It means that you keep pushing yourself and keep learning even if you’ve been in the role for a while. This learning can come from multiple sources- from your team, books, mentors, and platforms like Piper.
Once you adopt this mindset, confidence is a natural next step because you don’t need to beat yourself up if you make a mistake. Instead you can treat it as an opportunity to learn. Regularly ask yourself what you’ve found challenging each week and what you want to find out more about.
There are also a plethora of other resources for managers like podcasts, and books. The truth is you have never ‘arrived’ as a manager so keep learning and absorbing new thinking.
84% of US Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs and employees at practically every level are significantly less likely to consider quitting if they have a mentor1.
A mentor is a person who can support, advise and guide you. They should ideally work outside your organization so their advice is as impartial and objective as possible. Some people actually get more than one mentor so may end up with a friend that they turn to for personal advice, someone else they use for health and wellbeing or relationship advice and then a more traditional mentor for work support.
The great thing about a mentor is that they’ve been through the self-same challenges (and there tends to be a lot of common ground when you speak to other managers) and can offer perspective when things feel heated or overwhelming. There are also specific mentoring networks out there as a first step to sourcing a mentor i.e. mentors who work with start up managers for instance. You can also reach out to friends and ex-colleagues and use LinkedIn to find potential mentors.
Ultimately becoming a manager is a process and it’s something you will keep on working on. You’ll have good and bad days but as long as you are open to embracing change and learning you’re definitely on the right track!