Supervisory Leadership

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How can managers help new managers make the transition from being an individual performer to being a manager?

The transition from individual contributor to boss is one of the hardest in business. The only other comparable transitions are to general management and to CEO. Here are some guidelines for making that transition effective.

Tell the new boss what he or she is in for. The new boss will probably take 12 - 18 months to become comfortable in his/her new role. That usually involves two phases I call "Boss" and "Buddy" where the new boss overemphasizes authority or tries to be everyone's friend. After those there's a period of determining where Balance resides.

Provide some training. This should be training in the usual administrivia, but also in the basics of supervisory leadership. Naturally, I think my forthcoming book would be a great choice.

Provide some way support the transfer of training. A mentor who can help the new manager with the transition and with navigating the organizational whirlpools is excellent. Providing a forum for the new manager to meet with other new managers, even if they're from different companies, can help as well.

The transition period can be a period of incredible personal growth, so let the new boss know that. Encourage him or her to use the time as a way to determine what self-development goals to pursue.


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