5 Lessons Learned from Transitioning into a Management Role
Five years ago, I joined Boomer Consulting, Inc. as a Solutions Advisor. Earlier this year, I was promoted to Solutions Manager. Going from doer to manager was a huge change. While I anticipated some of those changes, others I learned the hard way through trial and error.
Today, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned along the way, so if you’re preparing to transition from team member to manager, you can benefit from my successes and failures.
Lesson #1: Formal training and professional development help
One of the trainings Boomer Consulting offers is the P3 Leadership Academy, a program designed to help professionals and administrators in CPA firms develop management skills.
Fortunately for me, the BCI team believes in drinking our own champagne. Our leadership team also developed an internal leadership development program where we work on a lot of the same skills the P3 Leadership Academy teaches our clients. Over the past several years, I’ve attended sessions twice a year where I’ve learned about managing myself and others and thinking of our company as a whole rather than just my own role. That ongoing training really helped me prepare for my new role.
Lesson #2: Balancing the additional workload is a challenge
One of the biggest struggles I’ve faced in transitioning to my new role is balancing all of my regular job duties while also taking on management duties. It has forced me to get more intentional about managing my time.
One of the tricks I’ve learned is utilizing my calendar as a communication and time management tool. This is something that everyone on the BCI team does. We schedule time for deep focus work, time for regular check-ins with other team member and time we’re open for other meetings. This helps me plan my day and lets other team members know when I’m available and when I need uninterrupted time to work.
I’ve also learned to rely more on task management systems. I have one for my to-do list, and I use Asana to collaborate on projects with my team.
Lesson #3: Regular check-ins and feedback are important
In a management role, it’s important to provide regular feedback and be a resource for my team without micromanaging.
Since the BCI team is entirely remote, regular check-ins don’t happen by accident. Instead, I set up weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the people I manage. During our regular meetings, we talk about my team members’ top three accomplishments over the past week, what they’re going to focus on in the coming week, and I provide feedback on what they are doing well and what needs to improve. Of course, I’m always available for questions or feedback in between scheduled meetings, but making sure they happen regularly helps my team (and me) perform our best.
Lesson #4: Relationships with peers may change
One of the aspects of being elevated to a management role that few people talk about is how relationships change when you start managing people who used to be “peers.” For the most part, I still feel like a peer, but sometimes I do need to step into that manager role to give constructive criticism or get my team members’ take on certain situations.
Making that shift has been a learning experience for me, as I didn’t do a great job with it at first. I had to learn to ask questions and get my team members’ thoughts on a situation instead of leading with my own perceptions.
Lesson #5: Delegating is crucial
In the year leading up to my promotion, my own manager encouraged and challenged me to delegate more. Although I still struggle with it from time to time, I’ve really benefited from that experience.
The more I learned to give up control and delegate the right way, the more success I saw. It’s important to give up the tasks and responsibilities that other people can handle to focus on my own unique abilities and provide opportunities to others. Getting more comfortable with letting go has really helped me shift into my new role.
If you’ve recently been promoted or are interested in having your role elevated in the future, I encourage you to seek out training resources, start practicing more intentional time management and communication practices and delegating whenever possible. Having patience and trusting your team is key when shifting jobs from staff member to manager. Start developing those skills now, and you and your team will benefit in the long run.
Are you looking for leadership training that is tailored to the CPA profession?
As the Solutions Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Deanna works to help clients and prospective clients identify their dangers, opportunities and strengths. Once these are identified, she works to develop a personalized game plan for their firm to focus on the area, or areas, they need to improve on most. These areas are critical to a firm’s success and future-readiness; Leadership, Talent, Technology, Process and Growth.