You shone as an individual contributor. You completed assignments that were thought impossible. Your reward? You were given a team and told "Congratulations. You're a manager." Gulp! Now what do you do?
You refer to this blog for resources that can help you shine as a manager, too! Plenty of resources exist to help you in your transition to management, but I think the resources below are some really good ones for people new to a management role:
- www.12manage.com - when you're in a meeting and someone mentions the Theory of Reasoned Action or a PEST analysis and acts like everyone should know what it is, head to this site. 12manage defines over 2000 management theories across 12 disciplines, including areas like strategy, decision-making, leadership and communications.
- www.managementhelp.org - also called the Free Management Library, this site provides overview and in-depth information on over 650 topics managers deal with, including coaching, crisis management, social networking and finances.
- www.businessballs.com - started as a "free ethical learning and development resource," the site has over 200 topics across 10 categories, all designed to help you be a better employee ad leader.
- iTunes University has some great channels and podcasts on improving your management skills. What Great Bosses Knowincludes titles like " Tips for New Managers," "The Power of Questions," "The Myth of the Open Door" and "Secrets of Great Coaching." The HBR Idea Cast channel has titles like "Can Introverts Lead?," "What's Holding You Back?" and "Learn from Failure." Another channel that looks interesting (but I haven't had time to explore) is The Look and Sound of Leadership.
- www.mindtools.com - MindTools (TM) provides a variety of resources to help you become exceptionally effective at management and leadership skills. Although parts of the site are fee-based, the content offered for free is worth checking out.
- YouTube has a variety of interesting channels to which you can subscribe. When you subscribe, new videos for that channel are added to your YouTube home page, and you can elect to receive an email for new postings as well. Harvard Business Review is a great channel, and a list of educational channels can be found here - click the "Most Subscribed" tab to see the most popular education channels.
- EBSCHost - provides articles from a large database of magazines, journals and other resources, including Fast Company, Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management review. EBSCO also provides Business Book Summaries - short overviews of current business books. Oracle employees can access EBSCO here. Outside of Oracle, you can likely access EBSCO through you public library.
So, how can you actually use this information? Let's say that you are a new manager, and you have a development conversation with your manager. Yes, I used the term "development conversation" because those are important, and you should have them if you want to improve you capabilities! Anyway, you determine that you need to improve your decision-making skills. Here's what I would recommend:
- Review "decision-making" at the Free Management Library and at businessballs.com. Use the information you find there to further define the aspects of decision-making that you need to improve.
- Take the quiz "How Good is Your Decision-Making?"at MindTools (TM). Use this information to further refine your goals for improvement and to brainstorm some specific examples of things you might do.
- Browse YouTube and iTunes to see if there are any videos or podcasts that you can watch about decision-making (put the term in the search box). As you watch, take notes on things that you might or might not do and determine what you might discuss with your manager or present to your teammates. Some videos that might be of interest include:
- The Future of Decision Making - presented by John Rymer, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, addressing business' need to make smarter, faster decisions to reduce risk and stay profitable.
- How Companies Can Make Better Decisions - a Harvard Business Review interview with Marcia Blenko, leader of Bain & Company's Global Organization Practice, on integrating effective decision making into your business.
- Search EBSCOHost to find relevant articles or book summaries on decision-making. Remember, if your company doesn't subscribe to EBSCHost, you can probably access the database through your public library.
- From your research, determine one or two things about your decision-making skills that you want to change. On your development plan, record those things with specific expectations. Review this with your manager.
- Check in with yourself, your manager, your direct reports, or your peers on a regular basis to determine if your skills are improving. You may decide to check in with a few people on a monthly basis, your staff on a quarterly basis, etc. If you need a tool to track your progress, consider the Stop-Keep-Start concept. Basically, define your role and area for improvement and then ask what behaviors your should stop, keep and start. An example might look like this:
Change: Improve Decision Making Skills
decisions without team input
pros/cons of decisions
input from team on product release decisions
If you have others complete a Stop-Keep-Start analysis for you, ask them to be specific in their feedback, and you'll have a great mechanism for deciding specific actions you can take to improve your skills.
- At your goal point, discuss with your manager your awareness of new decision-making skills, your implementation of those skills, and your next steps for improvement.
Remember, being a manager is different from being an individual contributor - you have more than one person to look out for, and your work in now focused on a bigger picture. Transitioning into this role is a process, and, as such, it will take both time and effort on your part. Your best approach is to work with your manager, be open to suggestions for improvement, and remember that you got to this position because you are successful.
If you have additional transition tips or helpful resources, please feel free to leave a comment so that others might learn from your experiences.