Moves into Management


Recently been promoted? It’s quite rightly time to celebrate and enjoy the fruition of your hard work and dedication to your career, at the same time; it’s also quite natural to feel some apprehension. You need to build respect in your new position and show that you are the right person for the job, you may be managing people who were colleagues or even those who went for the same promotion and weren’t successful. How you navigate through the initial transition will set the foundations for a successful managerial career.

Having re-watched the BBC comedy, The Thick of It recently, it made me realise how important it is to adjust and learn the tricks of the trade as someone that is at the head of a team. It also reinforced what does, and doesn’t, make a good leader. However, I certainly wasn’t making notes as I watched the political satire. Malcolm Tucker’s blunt, outspoken and sometimes expletive way of leading is not always the right way to go about things. His methods, although heightened in order to create comedic effect, definitely shouldn’t be used by leaders or management in the real world; few people respond positively to it and will most likely make you public enemy #1.

Instead, there are ways in which you can train yourself to be the best manager you can be. I fully believe the managers I have around me at Pitman Training are the motivating factors that push towards team success. Without well trained managers, success and productivity would be much harder to come by. So, if you have recently achieved promotion here are a few points that will help you lay the foundations to make the transition from peer to manager successful:

  • Lay the foundations:
    Once you’re in your new role, it’s important to set the tone for your managerial method from the outset. Take the time to meet with your team individually where you can let them know how things will operate from this point on, your expectations, any role changes and how you’ll be measuring performance. This is a vital step to ensuring ongoing respect and reduces potential worries any of the team members may have.
  • Use your authority wisely:
    Be aware and mindful that those under your management get the praise they deserve, and the discipline they need too. Praising individuals, or the team as a whole, ensures morale and productivity levels stay high. If people feel good about the work that they’re doing, it creates a positive domino effect.
    Similarly, if it becomes necessary to discipline a member of staff, remember that everything is relative. If it was down to Malcolm Tucker, they’d be shouted at relentlessly but we know this is most definitely the wrong approach. Put some time in the diary to have a discussion one-to-one, explain the issue and ensure you offer a firm, clear explanation but be constructive. Personal feelings need to be removed but it’s important to end the meeting on a positive note so they don’t go away from the meeting feeling deflated and unmotivated.
    It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between peer and manager, but it is imperative that professionalism forefronts everything.
  • Learn to delegate efficiently:
    According to Stanford University, 37% of bosses say that they need to work on their delegation skills so don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t grasp it straight away. Evidently, it’s something that doesn’t come naturally to people; however, it is one of the most important skills to embrace when you take on a managerial role. It’s impossible to do everything yourself, and your staff will understand that. It can be tempting to think “it’s quicker if I just do this myself”, or it might be a task that you did before your promotion that you would like to keep hold of, but all those tasks add up and you have to remember you have a different focus to your role now. You need to let go and trust others to do the job so that you can focus on improving and progressing your team and the business. Effective delegation can have a beneficial effect on members of your team who will appreciate the opportunity to expand their experience and feel more valued and trusted.
  • Connect with your team:
    With all the different areas you now need to oversee, you cannot be on top of everything and everyone all of the time. With the move from peer to boss you have to re-establish the boundaries. You can’t have staff members taking advantage of your friendship and managerial role. You may not be able to have the level of friendship you may have had before, but through trust, respect and encouraging your team to strive for their goals you’ll remain approachable and accessible through a new level of connection that works well for all.
  • Build a network:
    For any manager it’s important to have a network of people you can go to for advice and to use as a sounding board. Firstly, I’d recommend you take the time to connect more with fellow managers in your organisation. They are best placed to guide and advise as they understand the company ethos and aims more than anyone.
    I’d also recommend seeking out external managerial networking events. Gaining an outside perspective on things can often lead to new ways of thinking and working. Sometimes, being in management can be quite an isolated place that can become stressful and overwhelming. Networking reminds you that others are in the same position as you and gives you a place to unload any queries while developing social and professional relationships. Make time for networking, sharing best practice and socialising within a management community and I’m sure you’ll reap the benefits.
  • Don’t pretend you know everything:
    Unfortunately, we’re not superhuman, there’s no way of knowing everything all the time. If someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, don’t fret, be honest and ask for help. It’s not a failure to seek assistance, you’re striving for better. If you try to make things up as you go along, you could end up losing respect. Remember, no matter what position a person is in, there is always something to learn.
  • Avoid any unnecessary negativity:
    It’s inevitable that you’re going to have good and bad days but sometimes, you just feel as though everything is going against you. Try to keep perspective, don’t let it phase you and plough on. You were put in to your position for a reason and your bosses have faith in your judgements.
    Similarly, be mindful of the personality you portray to your team. It’s not bad to let them see you’re having a bad day, in fact I believe it shows your human side, but don’t prolong the negative vibe. Positive attitudes work wonders within the workplace and filters through to others around you. Positivity = productivity and high morale.
  • Have clear aims:
    Everything needs to have some kind of purpose or outcome. If you’re not aiming for a particular outcome at the end of a task then it can be argued that it isn’t necessary, and will not be done well. Having a clear aim gives yourself and your team something to work towards and means everyone understands their expectations as to what is wanted and needed.
  • Don’t stop learning:
    Never get too comfortable, always strive for more. Life-long-learning is always an option. Push yourself and go on courses, training seminars, read relevant articles and stay connected via networking events. Doing all these things will ensure that you’re putting yourself in the best possible position you can be and keeps you engaged. Your managerial role doesn’t have to be the peak of your career, view it as the start of bigger and better things.

Your role as a newly appointed manager may be completely different to the position that you were in before so if it is your first role in management, be sure that you’re ready for a big change. Don’t worry if you don’t feel immediately comfortable in the role; that will come in time. However, know that it is time to step up to a new challenge and focus on what you want to achieve. You know what’s best for your team and in what ways they work the most efficiently from your time as a former peer or from experience elsewhere, so have confidence in your abilities and be creative in your ideas to develop the business. Good luck in your new role!

 This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount when you subscribe through us. Visit the website at to find out more or to get your 30% discount email [email protected] and tell them we sent you.

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