Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

From peer to supervisor – Part 15: viewing your first management position in a wider perspective

Posted in HR and personnel, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on November 25, 2010

This is my fifteenth posting in a series on transitioning into management, and I start it by stressing what should be obvious but rarely is. Careers consist of series of transitions separated by periods of tenure in steps transitioned into. The periods of tenure are ideally at least, periods of professional growth and development that would prepare you for the next step along your career path. But that requires effectively making each of those transitions and in setting yourself up for success as you go through them. That is where a resource like my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development comes in, and my goal of offering guidance through some key transition points you can encounter.

Job search and landing a best fit next job is certainly a source of key transition points, as are changes in job type or industry worked in – areas I have been writing about since the earliest postings and both in the Guide and in this blog in general. This posting marks the last of a series, at least for now, on another of those major transition points – entering management and assuming management and leadership responsibilities for the first time.

I started this series with Moving into Management and going into your first day as a new manager. The installment just prior to this one in this series dealt with your first performance review from your supervisor as a new manager, as would be faced at the end of your probationary period for this new position. The balance of series postings up to now have discussed issues that are commonly if not universally encountered by new managers, and I freely acknowledge here that they only cover a sampling of possibilities that could be discussed here. I have primarily tried to cover the most likely issues. Any significant career transition, however, is going to involve the new and unexpected so I write this posting with a goal of helping to recognize the unexpected challenge or opportunity early for addressing them more effectively.

Look at this position simply as a step, and one you go through as a learning curve opportunity and a door opener. Take every opportunity and challenge in it serious and act accordingly, but always look at every step and stage in your career as exactly that – a step in a much longer ongoing process.

• If you want to limit your career and avoid living up to your potential, work on autopilot. Simply do your job day to day but without any overriding planning.
• If you want a true career as a series of learning opportunities and job advancements, act accordingly for that too. And your first job as a manager is one of the really major steps in any career for anyone who is moving up at all in the table of organization. This is your proving ground where you learn something of your potential and where others learn that too of you.

The next series I am going to add to this Guide is going to focus on teams and working as an effective member of one. Before that I am going to post a critique of the Peter Principle, at least as it is more commonly cited as a benchmark for careers and organizational advancement in them. Note: I have also been including this series in HR and Personnel and I have added other material related to management there as well.

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