For the Leader in You

From “Do-er” to Manager in Five Simple Steps

You are great at what you do!  So great, in fact, that you’ve been promoted to manage your former peers (the subject of an upcoming blog post). There’s just one problem: You are overwhelmed because you are doing your old job in addition to managing others.  And, you are concerned because, if being truly honest with yourself, you realize that you are the bottleneck and actually getting in the way. Where are those additional hours in the day?!  How will you learn the necessary management skills?!

The Answer Is Making the Transition, Not Giving Up Sleep

You are on the treadmill, barely keeping up while you tell yourself that it will get easier. But how? Take a breath…you don’t have to give up sleep to get it all done and succeed.  Instead, you need to learn and implement the secrets to effective management.

The Five Simple Steps to Stepping It Up as A Manager

  1. Pause and Plan: I wasn’t kidding when I said breathe. Most managers, (everyone, actually) forget to take the time to plan and prioritize. Do this yourself, with a mentor, or with your coach.
  2. Identify Your Role: Be sure to identify your role and the role of individual direct reports with respect to each specific project. This will help you avoid digging into “doing”.
  3. Avoid Personally Focusing on Comfortable Tasks: It’s time for you to stretch; you’ve just been promoted, so do not take on what’s easy or comfortable. That would be those doer tasks that you do so well, but aren’t in your current job description.
  4. Delegate Effectively: This is the tricky part. You are very conscientious, hence the promotion, and are petrified that team members might drop the ball, and then everyone will think you’re a failure and shouldn’t have been promoted. Wrong!!  You can effectively delegate using coaching skills to ensure that you and your direct reports are on the same page regarding the tasks at hand and the expected outcomes.  In particular, you will want to use coaching skills to ensure that your direct reports have a plan, have identified resources and needs, removed obstacles, and have clarity with respect to essential aspects of the tasks.
  5. Follow Up with Support: Delegate doesn’t mean abdicate. You are still on the hook for the successful completion of the tasks (and you know it!). Have no fear!  At the end of the initial delegation conversation, be sure to establish and schedule follow-up. This will ensure that you provide the support necessary to ensure success.

If you want to learn more about how to make the transition from “do-er” to manager, and you’re in the DC area, join me on: March 9 for Tactical Leadership Skills, register here.

If you found this post useful, please share with your colleagues and friends and let us know what you’ve done to make the transition from “do-er” to manager.    You can reach me at or 202-449-9751.

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