Sandra Wiley
Sandra Wiley

I was promoted to manager—now what?

The transition from staff to manager can be both exciting and terrifying. A little clarity from the top can go a long way. Start with a list of expectations.

June 20, 2013
by Sandra Wiley

For many professionals, the promotion from staff to manager can be both exciting and terrifying.

There is excitement about new duties and the elevation in responsibility, and yet there is often a lack of clarity about what the promotion really means to them or the business.

In many businesses, expectations are not spelled out, and new managers identify their new space and place over time simply by figuring it out on their own. Here is a list of expectations for new managers developed by a group I met with recently:

  • You will now have ownership of your job and projects.
  • You will now be responsible for the outcomes in your area of expertise, the good and the bad.
  • You can expect to be a buffer between staff and partners.
  • You will be given a higher level of technical work.
  • You will be seen as a role model by the staff in the firm.
  • You will be expected to create and motivate your team in a positive way.
  • You will now be expected not only to receive mentoring from a partner, but also to be a mentor to staff.

Indeed, this list is probably missing a few things, but it’s a good start.

The point of the exercise is that managers should have this list of characteristics and expectations before they are promoted.

So when it comes time to hire or promote somebody to a management position, have a list of expectations, and sit down with the candidate for promotion to go over each item on the list to ensure that he or she understands his or her new role. The results will be a more motivated and engaged manager who is truly valuable to the business in a new role from the very beginning.

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Sandra Wiley is COO of Boomer Consulting in Manhattan, Kan., and is a regular speaker on topics such as team building, talent development, and performance improvement.