Getting Promoted into Management – Are You Ready?

by Margaret  Wood   Posted 4/12/2017

Congratulations! You’ve Been Promoted

You have finally arrived! Your boss has just offered you your first promotion into Management! Your emotions are running wild–you are excited, joyful, and overwhelmed–all at the same time. This is what you wanted and worked so hard to achieve.

At this moment, though, there are a hundred and one questions running through your head as you try to focus on your boss who is outlining the new expectations, your new duties, etc.

But, are you really ready for this challenge?

As a Neophyte in a first-time supervisory role you may feel totally clueless.

Take a minute to remind yourself of one thing – you must be doing some things right to have earned this recognition. Otherwise, why would they consider promoting you if you weren’t doing an outstanding job?

You feel confident in your job knowledge, as well as everyone else’s job in the department. You’ve been with the company for several years and understand their mission,  goals and culture. So what’s the big deal, you ask?

Hopefully, your manager will have “The Talk” with you, to pave the way and  help you transition comfortably into your new role.

Remember, you are not simply getting promoted to earn more money and do more of the same. Here you will be expected to step up your game- transition from staff member to manager, from follower to leader.

Promotions into supervisory roles require new skillsets and strategies on your part. If your company is willing to invest in them and promote them, then your managers have every right to establish their expectations on a go-forward basis.

As a result, this can be a challenging discussion with your manager; but more often than not, you’ll find that establishing this new mind-set will go a long way in helping you, as a newly promoted supervisor, to excel and thrive in your new role.

First, expect some initial resistance, pushback, and even a challenge or two from the staff, especially if you will be supervising a former peer group.


The Talk &  The Take-Away

This talk should an honest and balanced assessment of the your performance up to now, along with the increased expectations your boss will have for you in the new role. It may sting a bit during the time of delivery, but it’s meant to get you thinking about where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, and where he/she wants to go from here.

Up to now, you’ve worked very hard, applied yourself in every way, and did everything that was assigned to you with a smile and can-do attitude. You’ve kept your boss in the loop regarding your progress and always let him know if you wouldn’t be able to meet a deadline or ran into any unforeseen delays, something every great boss appreciates. Those are just some of the reasons he’s been so supportive of your promotion.

The conversation should be an open and honest one so that you take away good information; the not-so-good news is that some of what he tells you may be difficult for you to hear, so be prepared to approach this with an open mind.

If you receive and accept this promotion, you’ll be supervising people who were once your peers. That means that there may be some resentment or jealousy from those whom you feel closest to. It also means that you’re going to have to distance yourself from them a bit so that there’s a clear line of distinction between you and them.

This also means that you’ll need to dress more professionally. Up to now, you’ve worn clothes and apparel that are befitting of a staff member, but more than likely not befitting of a member of the management team. There may even be some people on your staff that dress exceptionally well, and if you’re not careful, the people you supervise may ‘‘show you up,’’ so to speak. Your image therefore becomes very important. Give some thought to the image you want to portray both toward your subordinates as well as senior members of management.

Okay. Next, you need to choose your friends a bit more carefully. Up to now, you’ve been very tight with a small group  outside of your department.  While no one can tell you who to befriend, it’s now time to be a little more discerning. Others will judge you by the company you keep.  If your friends are constantly joking and playing pranks on each other, stop and consider if others take them seriously –if not, neither staff nor management will take you seroiusly either and that’s not necessarily going to help your career. Choose wisely.

Suggestion: Expand your circle of friends to include other supervisors and department heads. Let people see you networking with higher-level associates, and they’ll tend to categorize you upward into that group, which will help them take you more seriously.

One of the most important transitions will involve you stepping up in terms of how you see yourself and how you’ll take ownership of the projects you work on and the people you supervise. You are no longer the student – you are now a teacher. The expectations for teachers are totally different than for students.

Now you are expected to lead, not follow. You will be expected to take well-calculated risks, with advanced approval. (Bosses hate being blindsided.) Unless it comes naturally, you will need to learn to speak with authority and command a room. They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone; you have finally arrived!

Ask yourself if:

  1. Are you ready to teach others?
  2.  Can you deliver new information with clarity and purpose?
  3. Can you make solid recommendations backed with supporting data?
  4. Will you be able to confront problem situations head-on?
  5. Will you be strong enough to discipline or even lay off or terminate subordinates whom you now consider close personal friends?
  6. Will your boss be able to count on you to reinvent yourself in light of these challenges?

You will become more comfortable in your new role as time goes on. You need to be sure that you’re ready to step up your own performance to meet them. Although there’s a risk of failure here, as with any change in life, and you need to be sure that you’re ready for the challenge and willing to do what it takes to get it done.

Know that you’re not alone in this and that upper management is there to help. They were once neophytes as well. Seek their advice and opinions as you go along. Learn from their mistakes. Ask questions, lots of them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Let everyone know you want to succeed in your new role.

Be sure before you say yes to this promotion; make sure you’re clear on  all the expectations and in your ability to meet them. Don’t take this opportunity for granted, and get ready to enter a new stage in your career.


Congratulations on Your Promotion!


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