"I was Promoted to Manager, Now What?"

Management Development Plus (MDP) assists health, education and human service organizations enhance their services in cost effective ways that improve employee productivity and consumer satisfaction.

Several years ago, I attended a party where I spoke briefly with Mary, a recent graduate who was employed as a nurse in a surgical unit of a hospital. It was her second month on the job and she was ecstatic about it. Recently I ran into her and noted that the enthusiasm and excitement I remembered were gone. When I questioned her, she told me "Six months ago I was promoted to a management position; now I have little patient contact and my department is falling apart-low morale, poor documentation; not meeting deadlines, etc. I can't seem to figure out this management role.

What went wrong? I have heard similar stories so many times. Workers who are good at what they do are frequently promoted to positions that require different skills. Too often, they are thrust into management positions without any guidance, coaching, mentoring- whatever the word- to manage people, usually a diverse set of people. Too often, management training focuses solely on the basic management skills and neglects to address what I like to call "people skills" Both are needed for a manager to succeed. After all, management is getting the work done through others.

Some individuals have great potential and would flourish in the role of manager if given the opportunity to receive appropriate training. On the other hand, management is not for everyone. Some people hate it, but when offered a promotion automatically accept it for the increased compensation. They may not think about the different set of skills that may be needed or that it may not be a job they will like or that they might miss what they were doing before. When promoted from within, they may think they do not have an option of declining the offer for fear of the response of others. Not an easy decision!

When organizations fail to consider the needed skills, they are more likely to experience situations like that of Mary's case. The hospital not only lost the performance of a highly skilled nurse, but at the same time experienced a decline in the effectiveness of a department-not a cost-effective approach.

Contemplating a Management Position for the First Time? -- Tips for Consideration

  • What is management?

  • How will my role and responsibilities change?

  • Do I know and understand the basic skills managers must have to succeed?

  • Will my company provide me with management training? If not, where will I receive training and/or coaching? What will I need to learn?

  • What technical skills do I need to have? Are mine sufficient?

  • Do I have good interpersonal skills?

  • Am I well organized in my work?

  • Can I do multi-tasking?

  • Am I comfortable in giving people directives and/or guidance?

  • Do I enjoy teaching or mentoring others?

  • If promoted from within, how will my role as manager change my relationship with current colleagues who are my peers? How will I relate to my subordinates who have been my friends?

  • Do I enjoy taking initiative and being creative?

  • How will I promote my "new" image?

  • Will this position require more time at the office?

  • Will this position affect how I balance my professional and personal life?

  • Does the position offer me compensation that affords me to live in a preferred life style?

  • Make a pro and con list to help you make your decision

The next newsletter will focus on how organizations can prepare new managers to succeed in meeting the organization's goals.


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