The step up from being a junior employee to a manager is often underestimated. Becoming a manager isn’t something that happens overnight – your job title may change overnight, but becoming a manager is a long process that takes months or even years for people to adapt to. One of the biggest changes you’ll have to acknowledge is that you’re also responsible for a team of people and their results, as well as your own personal results. It’s all well and good for you to hit your targets, but if your employees aren’t hitting their targets like they should be, it’s fair to say that you’re probably not managing them as well as you could (or should).
You are the expert
Becoming a manager will affect the way that people see you: When promoted you’re elevated to the position of “expert” in the eyes of customers, and in the eyes of your subordinates. You’re the “go-to” guy (or girl), the person who should be able to answer any question about any aspect of the business.
In order to retain this expert status you need to show willing to help employees and customers – you need to be that person who’s the fountain of all knowledge – don’t wait to be called into action as the expert, if you see a situation arising, jump straight in to help. In a nut shell, you need to know your job and your company inside out and back to front. Being the expert might appear hard at first, but you’ll soon settle into the role.
Dealing with your authority and learning to listen
Angry customers and upset staff love nothing more than to deal with authority (ie speak to a manager – and that manager is you). Because you now have authority, you need to learn to listen – you’ll find a lot more people will approach you with problems and concerns – and if something big kicks off on your watch, bet your bottom dollar that it’s you that will have to deal with it.
Learning the art of listening is very important because you can’t solve a problem until you know what the problem is. If you’re incapable of listening to customers and employees, you’ll never know what the issue is – consequently you’ll never be able to address it effectively. The importance of listening is addressed by the Making It Clear blog:
“Some managers get so impressed with themselves that they spend much more of their time telling people things than they spend listening. … It’s the only way you’re really going to find out what’s going on in your organization, and it’s the only way that you’ll ever learn to be a better manager.”
It’s your job to solve disputes and problems that have escalated beyond the remittance of a junior employee’s problem solving powers – it’s also your job to solve the problems that junior colleagues approach you with, should they feel the need to do so.
Everything changes when you become a manager because you’re no longer just a regular employee – you’re now on a pedestal as an expert, and as the person who wields influence and authority should issues flare up.