I am applying for a manager position. Up to now, I have had
non-managerial positions. People tell me I do an excellent job and
get along with everyone.
What more of a company perspective does a manager have to
consider? What should I clarify about it? It is a new
position. Thank you. Really appreciate your
Moving from individual contributor to manager is like moving
from babysitter to parent. Your entire perspective changes. Rather
than being concerned with your own performance, you are responsible
for the performance of the individuals in your department, your own
performance, the company’s performance and the
company’s reputation in the world outside.
Let’s take a sharper look at each of these
Your employees’ performance:
New managers often get tripped up here. They are so used to
doing the job themselves; it takes awhile to learn how to get the
work done through other people. They tend to be too buddy-buddy,
heavy-handed, or micro-manage their employees’ actions.
Instead, they need to learn how to clarify the desired outcomes and
get out of the way.
A great performer like you can get very frustrated if an
employee doesn’t perform up to the standards you set. Rather
than nudging the employee aside and doing it for her, giving
feedback and coaching to get the desired results become the primary
skills you draw upon.
And the real test is when an employee’s performance
isn’t up to standards or their behavior is getting in the
way. Being able to confront issues directly and openly, without
shattering the person’s self-esteem, is the toughest
Your own performance:
You will be measured on how well you manage projects within
and across departments;
communicate with upper management; manage the budget and
collaborate with your peers, to name a few new categories.
Depending upon the position, you may be expected to do technical
work, as well as strategic work. Leadership skills will be a large
part of your performance appraisal.
Some people discover that they enjoy doing their own work more
than they like managing the work of others. The higher up the
ladder you go, the farther away you get from the technical/project
work and move to the 3 P’s: managing people, politics and
peers. As a first line manager, you will probably be expected to be
a leader and a doer.
The higher you go in a company, the more likely your
compensation will be tied to the bottom line. Many companies give
their managers a bonus that is determined, in part, by company
results. So even if you had a stellar year, your bonus could be
weighed down by other factors.
As a manager you need to think like the “owner” of
the entire business. Every decision should be made with other
departments in mind. Managers who wall their department off from
the rest of the company tend to get embroiled in turf wars and
finger pointing rather than operating from the perspective of,
“What’s right for the company?” This big picture
view develops over time, as you learn more about how the company
One of the biggest changes new managers notice is the amount
of time they spend in meetings. Rather than complain about it,
realize that meetings (good ones, at least) are where the big
picture is developed. They are the bridge of the ship, where
direction is set and the steering is done.
As a manager you represent the company, both inside and
outside the walls. You are expected to set a good moral example,
demonstrate a good work ethic, keep confidences, attend industry
events, and show up for the summer picnic.
When you open your mouth to any vendor, colleague or neighbor
you are the company speaking.
Does it sound like something you’re up for? It is a lot
of responsibility but if this lofty list sounds like a noble
challenge—instead of an intimidating nightmare—managing
sounds right for you. Good luck!