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Peer to manager: making the transition
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claregristtaylor
The IPG
Posted by IPG
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Publishing consultant Clare Grist Taylor shares seven top tips for making promotion work for you and colleagues
Congratulations: you’ve been promoted. It’s exciting, but perhaps a bit daunting too, especially if you will now be managing people who used to be your peers—a common situation in publishing. Adjusting to being a manager and recalibrating your relationships with colleagues can be a tricky balancing act. You need to establish your credibility and authority in your new role, without acting like the promotion has gone to your head. It can be a fine line—so here are seven tips for making the transition as positive as possible for all concerned.

1 Signal the transition

It probably won’t be your responsibility to make an announcement about your change of status, but do make sure that it happens. Ask your manager—or whoever usually sends out company announcements—to let colleagues know about the move and any new reporting lines in advance. It will help pave the way for change.

2 Don’t try to do too much too soon

New managers can feel that they have to ‘do something’ straight away, but don’t rush. Take your time, observe, listen and learn from peers new and old. Showing that you are taking stock and laying the groundwork is more powerful than any immediate, knee-jerk action.

3 Establish new team dynamics

Give your new team the chance to be part of the new regime too. Be clear about how the new relationships will work. Meet with your team, as a group and individually, to talk about your vision, listen to their ideas and find out what and how they can contribute. Look for the right opportunity for an early (joint) success.

4 Tackle disappointed competitors

You may find that you were in competition for your promotion with another colleague. Don’t let this fester. Acknowledge that this person will be disappointed and look for new ways to work together as soon as possible.

5 Distance yourself—without becoming unapproachable

This is perhaps the trickiest balancing act of all. A time may well come when you will have to ask a former peer to do something they don’t want to do, or deal with a performance issue. You may have to settle for being friendly rather than best friends, or cut back on socialising together—at least until new relationships are established. At the same time, you need to remain professionally available and approachable at all times.

6 Build trust

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Be open and honest and ask for feedback, but do so from a position of confidence rather than vulnerability.

7 Build a new support network

Stepping up is tough, and you will need a network of new peers and mentors—both internal and external—to help you manage the transition. There will be times when you feel lonely and uncertain, so make sure you have a 'safe haven' where you can go when the going gets tough.
Finally, don't forget that internal promotion brings with it a significant in-built advantage: you already know the organisation and the people you will be working with. Use that as much as possible.
Good luck; you’re going to do great.
Clare Grist Taylor is a publishing consultant. This blog is adapted from content from a new two-day training course with the Publishing Training Centre called Getting to Grips with Managing People in Publishing. Aimed specifically at those new to management in publishing, it will be delivered by Clare and Nancy Roberts for the first time on 21 and 22 May. The training can also be delivered in-house.
IPG members can get a second place for half price when they book a place on the course. To take advantage of the deal, enrol here, select ‘None of these’ in the Discount dropdown, add details of the two delegates and add ‘IPG Member offer’ in the comment box.

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