Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

From peer to supervisor – Part 2: management training opportunities

Posted in HR and personnel, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on September 30, 2010

A few days ago I posted a first installment in a new series on transitioning from peer to supervisor with Part 1: Moving into Management and I started a discussion of some of the core issues and challenges that arise when becoming a first time manager. I will have more to say along those lines but I want to switch to the topic of identifying and accessing resources available to you, for making this a smooth and successful move up in your career. And the bottom line message in this posting that I will be building towards is that you do have effective resources available to you and when becoming that first time manager.

• You have your own manager who has promoted you into this opportunity. Respect their time and busy schedule, but turn to them to more fully understand the goals and priorities you have to meet in successfully fulfilling your new job.
• You have the visible example of how management is done and hot it does and does not work around you, that has been available all along for you to learn from. Note that what does and does not work can vary and both for the specific nature and details of the business you work for, and the challenges and their time frames that you face. All of this offers important learning opportunities.
• Larger organizations, and even some smaller ones offer access to explicit training resources whether third party-provided seminars or training programs or online self-paced management skills learning resources.
• Very often professional organizations offer members a range of training tools and resources, and networking opportunities can be among their most important and helpful, no matter what else they explicitly set up and offer.
• Networking and cultivating one or more mentors can be an invaluable resource to turn to. In this case you can bring the sometimes abstract and unrelated of a more general discussion into the more focused context of your own experience and for both successes and set-backs. In this, a good mentoring relationship an offer a personalized point of connection with a measure of confidentiality that these other avenues to learning may not provide. (You might want to review Starting a New Job, Building a New Foundation – Part 7 and building a mentoring network in this regard.)
• Self-study is essentially always an option and with books and professional journals, and a seemingly endless variety of online resources, seminars and other resources available. As a tip here, reach out to more experienced managers and supervisors you know and ask them what they recommend as books and journals that they have found of help to them. Ask them what professionally oriented web sites they prefer. And keep your eyes open as to what they cite and reference in this regard without questions or prompting. Earlier in my career I received some invaluable advise of this sort from a more senior colleague and I still refer to some of the books I first learned of that way. And return the favor. Share reference recommendations back if you find a really helpful book or journal article. This, needless to say includes sharing resource leads with those you supervise and with your peers too and certainly where you see them connecting with specific needs and interests.

The above half dozen points only touch on a few of the possibilities. Look for others and keep an open mind, remembering that you can learn from both positive and negative experiences and role models. And always remember that your own ongoing experience is your best and most compelling teacher – if you really set out to understand and learn from this unfolding series of learning opportunities. There is always at least a potential learning experience in everything.

My next posting in this series is going to touch on the first time that something really goes wrong for you as a manager, and on both correcting matters and learning from all of this. I simply add here that in the real world this development is not a possible if, but rather a question of timing and circumstance for an inevitable when. Learning opportunities do and will happen so be prepared and make the most of them, and then move on to do better.

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