The Awkward Transition | Will You Survive?

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If in case you are wondering…no, this is not in reference to puberty. Get your mind out of the gutter, okay. Today, the transition from geek (or peer) to manager is the topic at hand. It can be a struggle and will probably be something that each of us go through at some point in our careers. So, let us talk about how to make that transition as smooth as possible and how to best prepare for the trials and tribulations ahead.

To get us started I took the liberty to find an article from titled, “Eight Tips to Transition from Co-Worker To Manager.” This article discusses how hard it can be to transition from a peer to a position of subordanance and how alienating it can be. It’s a lot different being the one assigning the work. It’s almost as if your ‘friends’ no longer want to be your ‘friends.’ The author, Lisa Quast, then lists these eight tips as:

  1. Realize your relationships. you are now the one who assigns work, analyzes productivity and provides performance appraisals.
  2. See your HR for resources and training options as you step into this new role.
  3. Sit down one-on-one with each person in the department to discuss their feelings about your transition to manager.
  4. Remain professional at all times. And, treat each and every employee fairly and with respect.
  5. Eliminate any water-cooler or break-room gossip and venting sessions with employees.
  6. Don’t allow previous work and/or friendships with your former peers to influence your new managerial responsibilities.
  7. Ensure that everyone on the team understands your new role as their manager and the responsibilities that are expected of you as well as the role each of them plays in the success (or failure) of the department.
  8. Work out a game plan for how you and your team can best work together to achieve the goals and objectives of the department.

She then concludes by saying, “Remember, your position as the new manager isn’t about trying to be popular; it’s about leading others to achieve results.”

Similarly, in the text, The Geek Leader’s Handbook, both Paul Glen and Maria McManus give tips and examples of how to transition from a geek (or peer) to a manager. They give many tips, just as the Forbes article does, but sheds a lot more light on the situation. They discuss how new managers have no idea what they are getting into, how they are never prepared, and how they will receive minimal help, if any. They list bad reasons as to why someone would get promoted a management position and state that a promotion should only happen when a person is ready. But Glen and McManus do not leave us with this sense of doom and gloom, but instead gives us what they believe to be four essential skills that new managers should have. These are:

  1. The ability to let go of doing.
  2. An understanding of what managers do.
  3. How to measure managerial success.
  4. The ability to cross boundaries.

Glen and McManus then conclude by saying, “A good place to start in the transition from geek to manager is to appreciate how different this role is form your last one and to be open to the changes in behavior and self-assesement that you need to make in order to succeed.” In the words of Henry Mintzberg, “Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.”

I encourage you to take to heart the resources provided in this article and to continue to learn and develop yourself into the best version that you can be. Love God, love yourself, and love others. As always, here is an infographic that as some additional food for thought.

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