Time is your most constrained resource when you are making a leadership transition to a new job as a manager of a team or a group. Why? Because you have to plan and deliver results in a relatively short period of time. There is only a short honeymoon period, if any. In fact, conventional wisdom suggests that you have about 90 days to show your mettle. A new President of the United States is typically given 100 days by the media to prove his worth. Expectations from all your stakeholders will be high and somewhat varied. You will have your fair share of supporters and detractors. In addition to learning leadership and management, you have to think in terms of the 5Rs – a practical model for leadership transition for new managers.


  1. Role

Once you are aware of the transition that you will be making, you need to set aside quality time to do research on your new role. Besides clarifying the role and responsibilities of your new job, you need to understand the big picture and see how your role connects to the strategic objectives of your organization. Depending on the nature of your transition, you probably have to learn something about the organization or update yourself on the industry – what are macro issues and challenges, what are the key success factors and the broad trends going forward and how these would impact your role and your company. As a manager, your job is to get results through the energy and expertise of other people, whether they are your team members or colleagues. You need to adopt a new mind set- different from that of an individual contributor that you were. Think about what kind of leader you want to be.


  1. Reality

You have to understand the situation that you will face when you take on the new leadership role. You need to have some insights about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as they relate to your business unit. Identify the issues and challenges that need to be addressed and prioritize accordingly. Then you can make the decisions on revamping, redirecting and reinforcing the relevant aspects of your business unit. Get the big picture. Keep an open and objective mind and focus on getting the information you need to make the right decisions. Talk to all your stakeholders and get as many perspectives as possible. Seek advice where necessary. Get on an accelerated learning curve. Learn fast. Work hard.


  1. Results

You have to be proactive in reaching out to your boss and other key stakeholders to align expectations. For example, you need to know your boss’ major goals and objectives and his key priorities. With that, you can shape your vision and strategies accordingly. What are your top 3 priorities? Strive for some quick-wins in the first couple of months to position yourself as an achiever and to gain credibility with your boss and your team. It is also a good confidence booster for you. Remember you have to manage perceptions.


  1. Resources

As part of your dialogue with your boss, you need to request and negotiate for resources – the logistics, people and budget that will support the successful execution of your plans. Critical logistical resources have to be identified, resourced and secured in a timely manner. In all likelihood, you will need some additional skills and competencies to get the job done. To do this, you may have to recruit outside talent or make internal transfers to your team. Do not forget that the most important resource is you – you have to be mentally and physically fit to handle the demands of your leadership transition. Eat well, rest well and exercise well. Your family and friends are your best social support system at this time.


  1. Relationships

Build your support network quickly, seek alliances and identify coaches on your team who can guide you to move things along. Get up to speed with the communication processes in the organization and leverage them for maximum effect. Every organization has their ways of getting information around – both the formal and informal channels. Use these channels to build relationships and build your profile.

Remember that some of your stakeholders want you to succeed and they are the ideal candidates to be your trusted advisors. Reach out to your direct reports and ask them for their take on the current situation and sincerely solicit their advice and ideas. Know who support you, who are not aligned and who needs to be persuaded. In short, know the politics and navigate it with finesse. In some cases, you will be managing former peers and you need to figure out an effective way to work with them, taking into account that some of them could have been passed over for the job which was given to you. The essence of leadership is influence. To be able to influence others, you need to have good relationships with them. Learn how to build and sustain a strong relationship network in your organisation. It is crucial to your success as a new manager.




Article by Jaren Chan, Director of Raffles Leadership Centre, an international training and research company. Founded in 1999, Raffles Leadership Centre offers The Effective Manager Program (EMP) for new managers and high-potentials and is an affiliate of Edugo Global LLC New York. For more information, visit www.rafflesleadership.com or email jaren@rafflesleadership.com