3 Stages That New Managers Go Through
“People do not typically leave companies if they are deliriously happy with their roles, but sometimes even people who are reasonably content with their jobs find better opportunities that come along.” - Gordon Haff
This stage is the phase wherein you need to let go of the past. It is the stage when you have to leave your comfort zone. At this phase of your transition from your old role to a more challenging role, you might feel apprehensive and might even question your decision whether you made the right choice. Don’t be afraid, NO one is exempted with this phase.
Before I became a team manager, I was a Quality Analyst which I enjoyed a lot. Being a QA is most probably the easiest and the most comfortable job that I had. However, I was eventually promoted to a higher position after enjoying my previous role for 6 months. I felt happy about being promoted of course because of the higher compensation and more benefits. But then, I also felt afraid about the change because of the greater responsibilities that will be passed on to me. And besides, my job as a QA is something that I learned to love, and I got attached to the people that I work with in that department, so letting go of it is really hard. I had mixed feelings at that point, my heart and my mind does not coincide with each other. My heart feels sad about leaving my old position while my mind was pretty excited about the new role, but I had to move forward.
After you finally left your old position, you will now go through the second stage which is the Neutral phase. At this point, new changes are being presented in front of you, more responsibilities than what you are used to, and different people to deal with. This is the stage when you redefine who you want to be and learn new things. However, this stage is also the time when anxiety comes in because you might have an issue in identifying who you want to become and what are the things that you want to accomplish. You’ll sometimes question yourself whether you are in the right track. You will feel nervous about the things that will happen while you are in the position, and possibly question your capability since you’re not making any magical change for the company. But then again, this stage of your career is pretty normal. Everyone goes through the same phase, so don’t feel bad about yourself. Don’t ever question your abilities and never ever give up.
You can make the Neutral Stage productive and beneficial. Here are a few things that you can do while on the Neutral stage.
- Do things your own way – try to evaluate yourself based on how you operate in the past and do things differently if you feel that you weren’t effective before. Think of things that you want to accomplish and do everything that you could to make it happen. You can experiment on how you deal with different situations and gauge the effectiveness of each. Try to set a new standard of what an effective manager should be, and try to see yourself of what you want to be known in the future.
- Celebrate Small Successes – You might get overwhelmed with a lot of things that you need to learn for your new role, which is pretty normal. Just take things one at a time, and set short term goals. Try to manage your time well and prioritize the things that are more important. Once you have accomplished something then never fail to celebrate it. Appreciate yourself once in a while; small accomplishments should not be overshadowed by your long term goals that are yet to be accomplished.
- Expand your network – at this point in time, connecting with other people is very important. Talk to people with experience so you can learn some of their best practices and get to feel comfortable with your environment. Never hesitate to ask questions from your colleagues and always keep a pen and paper handy to jot down notes.
The final stage is the Beginning. At this stage, you’ll finally accept your new identity. You are now comfortable of doing things without much intervention of other people. Once you set foot on this stage, you will get to appreciate that going through the previous two stages helped you in becoming a better and more effective manager.
Just keep your faith if you’re still in the Neutral stage, sooner or later you will get to the Beginning stage. Just remember that everyone goes through the same stages and NO one is exempted.
So, which stage are you now?