Your first steps as a manager are always challenging, and even more so when you’re coming from a technical engineering role.
You know your field inside out and you feel you’ve mastered the art of collaboration. Then, all of a sudden, you have to lead people. The prospect of moving from tech into management is, at best, thrilling, and at the very least, overwhelming.
I’ve been there. And if I could do it all over again, here are the six things I’d focus on in my first six months as a manager in tech.
Moving from Tech into Management: 6 Things to Consider
1. Establish your leadership philosophy
Start by thinking long and hard about your leadership philosophy.
Do you feel excited and empowered because you can now tell other people what to do? Or are you more excited about supporting others to reach their full potential? For me, it was always the latter.
Your priorities become clear when you know your own philosophy.
2. Get out of the technical details
If you've progressed up through technical roles, everything changes with management.
Resist the urge to jump into technical detail. It’s important to be a coach to your team, but they'll never learn if you keep jumping in to fix things. If you're always in detail, you’re likely not focused on your people priorities.
It’s time to shift that focus.
3. Communicate effectively and set clear expectations
Effective communication matters more than ever as a manager.
Be as transparent as possible about your priorities, and the intentions of meetings involving your team. Talk about purpose and priorities in a consistent, straightforward way. Focus on clarity of thought when expressing opinions or making decisions.
Less is more in terms of priorities - max 5 at a time.
4. Set and agree on your operating model
Start by aligning on shared team values and principles. Great leadership puts importance on values that guide each interaction and decision.
Take compassion as an example. Developing a compassionate leadership approach will guide you not to judge but instead listen, be open and be empathic.
Guiding principles give you and your team a solid footing.
5. Remember that it’s OK to be vulnerable
Management is a tough gig! You'll likely find yourself walking the fine line between vulnerability and conviction.
For new managers, the challenge and opportunity come from a humble appreciation that no one is invincible. It comes from giving team members the confidence that decisions are being made in a balanced, thoughtful way.
Embrace your vulnerability - your people will respect that.
6. Find the right platform to support you and your team
Many new managers feel like they have to do everything on their own.
But there are great tools out there to help lighten the load of performance management.
Frankli automates goal alignment and review cycles, while also giving your people a voice within the organisation.
1-Minute Version: It’s OK to be Vulnerable, and Other Mantras for New Managers in Tech
Introduction: Moving from tech into management can be challenging. Having been there, I’m suggesting six things to consider during your first six months in the role.
1. Establish a clear leadership philosophy. This will guide your priorities.
2. Resist the urge to jump into technical details. It’s time to shift focus to your people.
3. Set clear expectations. And communicate them to your people consistently, and in a straightforward way.
4. Set and agree on your operating model. Start by aligning on shared team values and principles. Your team need these to guide them in their work.
5. Remember that it’s OK to be vulnerable. Accept that you don’t know everything. Your people will respect that.
6. Find the right platform to support you and your team. Tools like Frankli help remove the administrative burden of management, and free you up to focus on what your people really need to thrive. To find out more about Frankli, click here.