There’s the bigger paycheck and better benefits, but there are also new responsibilities, new working relationships and problems to tackle.
A promotion doesn’t come packaged with omniscience—there is still much to learn. “Make the most of the transition period by learning as much as you can,” says Marlu Balmaceda, senior director for marketing and communications at SGV & Co. Request for training in the functions that are unfamiliar so you are prepared to take on the new tasks, says Wivinia C. Rodriguez, executive vice president at Standard Insurance Co., Inc.
Many articles state that the first 90 days after a promotion are crucial—but this is relative. “Prescribing a time frame depends on the type of promotion, the size of the organization, and the new responsibilities the promotion entails,” says Balmaceda. “Strategize by making short- and long-term goals for yourself and for your team.” Rodriguez adds: “A good leader should be aware of what she expects to accomplish and, more importantly, how the goals will be accomplished.”
Move past the teasing, discomfort, or even envy. “At the start, your peers may joke about your new role, which is fine because you are still unsure about how to act with each other, but it should be temporary,” says Balmaceda. Talk to them as a group and brief them on your new responsibilities. If you’re leading a group you’ve never worked with, Rodriguez advises that you get to know as much [as you can] about them. “Sources of information are the official 201 files and others in the company who have had interaction with the staff.”
Delegating is a basic skill that can be hard to master. Trust in your staff’s capabilities, match tasks to their strengths, and remember to follow up. “Without follow-up, managers don’t get information on how their delegation approach worked out,” writes Lauren Keller Johnson in her Harvard Management Update article, “Helping New Managers Succeed.” “They also miss the opportunity to give feedback to direct reports to whom they’ve delegated work,” she adds.
WORK THE ROOM.
You may cringe at the thought of office politics, but you need to deal with it. Balmaceda offers three tips: “First, know your strengths and be confident in them,” since these were what got you promoted. Second: Have empathy for others. “[Third,] develop your emotional intelligence that will help you understand people and their motives,” she adds. This is the “crucial skill of determining the genuine friends as opposed to the fakes in the workplace.”
The demands come from all sides: your team, your organization, your customers, and your investors. “While you will feel naturally compelled to prove that you were worth the promotion, don’t spread yourself too thin,” cautions Balmaceda. “Stay grounded and realistic. Your job description may have changed but your skills have not. Admit your limitations but work on them too.”
CHECK YOUR PROGRESS.
Go back to the goals that you’ve set, and see how much of these you’ve accomplished. Rodriguez says, “Targets based on key performance indicators should be clear from the outset. These should be measurable so that performance is easily monitored and evaluated.”
“Deadlines may be tighter and projects may become more complex but you are still counted on to deliver high-quality work on time,” says Balmaceda. She suggests taking in feedback—whether solicited or unsolicited. “In due time, you will find yourself as the ‘go to’ person or being referred to as the benchmark for others. When that happens, you have undoubtedly become an effective leader.”
(First published in Marie Claire, May 2008; photo source: sxc.hu)