Most of the first time managers get derailed after promotion, they get burned at both the ends. Mid-year is the promotion time, the corporate corridors are buzzing with rumors and intense lobbying is on by the managers to see their flock moving up. Keeping excellent performance and potential as a baseline, promotions in most of the corporates have become a show of strength by the managers to have their “people” move up the corporate ladder.
For you as a mortal corporate resident, take advantage of your “managers” lobbying and climb the ladder. However, the world will be overseeing you, as you are now in the spotlight, many get promoted to their incompetence, they are unable to perform in their new role, as what got them here, will not get them there. Here are few tips and tricks to avoid getting derailed after promotion.

Individual contributor versus team manager

At the early stage of the career, it’s your performance that has the highest weight in your performance goals. You develop and hone your skills and abilities, to complete the tasks at hand in a better fashion than your peers. Contrast this to a team manager role; you are awarded for the team’s performance, you are supposed to get the best out from your team members. It’s about finding the best way and motivational levers to get your team to perform at peak levels.

You would need to brush up your team skills, identify motivators and stress points for each of your team members and make them perform at their best. It will be a good idea to understand your team styles, your drivers and see if they complement with your team members. Remember you are the one, who has to shift gears, not your team members. Not doing so is one of the biggest reason why people get derailed after promotion.

Managing relationship across levels

The lowest common multiple to be in the organization is performance, to move beyond the pay raise, you need to be good at managing relationship across your peer group and seniors. In the huddles with senior managers where first level employees are often discussed, you would need sponsors for your team members. Your words won’t count alone; others have to vouch for them.

It is easier said than done, your team members would spend most of their time with you and on the tasks delegated or detailed by you. So how do you get other managers to praise them?

Start by loosening the grip on your team, let them pick up cross-functional tasks and assignments that will get them much needed visibility across managers. Your next level of growth will only come by if your team members get promoted to your role. But, there is a catch, if they don’t complete their tasks and manage relationships only or do the extra work, they will be fired, and you would be seen as a highly incompetent manager. There is a delicate balance between the two sides, make sure that you explain this to your team members.

By far, the most significant risk of underperformance occurs during the transition into first line management, most of the new incumbents struggle to gain traction for their new roles. One of the best ways to avoid this is to have a 90-day plan done in consultation with your manager and the HR department. This would give you an idea of what constitutes success. By humbly following the program, you can substantially reduce your chances of failure and not get derailed after promotion.

Finally remember, you are not perfect, so do take responsibility for any missteps and mistakes that are a result of your actions or inactions. This will help you in the more extended run and demonstrate that you can learn continuously. Using these tip you can avoid getting derailed after promotion.

Jappreet Sethi
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