You’re the Boss! Now What?

The dream job with the corner office is yours, but are you ready to prove you can walk the walk and not just talk the talk?

Making the transition from team player to team leader can sometimes be a rocky road. Faced with more responsibility and tests to prove your leadership, you’ll need different strategies and resources that can help smooth the way.

Start by admitting you don’t have all the answers and empower your team to come up with solutions, says Charmin Rockwell, owner and director of Career and Employment Counselling Services outside of Edmonton.

Learn to communicate well with your team and be open to feedback, she says. “When you’re a manager and you’ve been promoted from within, one of the keys to success is remembering where you came from,” Rockwell says. “Before I was the manager, what were some of the key issues our department faced? How can I tackle those? Identify what were some things that you didn’t like in your past managers.”

Back to school

Rockwell also recommends new managers continue to educate themselves. “That’s maybe reading a good book on management skills, taking a course – it all depends on the type of learner you are.”

Professor Ron Burke of York University’s School of Human Resource Management says companies that are great incubators of leadership talent, like General Electric, have in-house programs to help employees succeed at senior levels.

GE employees in sales and marketing, for example, are offered a two-year program consisting of four six-month, rotational assignments within a GE business. Participants also complete an intensive six-week program of classroom training to improve business and leadership skills. If no programs exist at your company, check out your local college or university where you could enrol in programs specifically aimed at executives.

Professional associations may also offer workshops or seminars. The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, for example, offers professional development training through its PD Net website. CGAs can participate in online courses, watch webcasts or browse the association’s virtual library for articles and books on leadership.