How to Move from an Individual Contributor to a Manager

Transitioning from an individual contributor to management is something I know very well. When I worked in corporate America, I was promoted every year for 13 of my 15 years, and what I realized is that what served me best was my proactive approach. I knew what my boss cared about, what kept them up at night, what their boss wanted from them and deeply understood the company's core priorities. Everything I did laddered up to one of these pillars. Add to that a way of storytelling, soft self-promotion, and using my intuition to perfect timing and accuracy of my work, I was unstoppable.


Now part of my mission is to give the tools and structures that I used to help other women in gaining more leadership roles at work. We need more women desperately in leadership, and research shows that companies perform better with an equal balance of men and women in leadership. As important, is the charter to be authentically who we are. There are so few role models of women leaders who are unapologetically themselves, not because they aren't strong enough to be, it hasn't been supported or rewarded. It's time for that to change.


For those women who are working to move up in their companies and become managers, leaders of people, harnessing more decision making power, remember you now need to broaden your perspective and view to a 360 orrientation in your role. You have people above and below you, peers, and x-functional teams that rely on the good work of your team. You're looking up, sideways, and down. This is the first step to reorient yourself within the system of work.


Once you have this larger awareness, you are ready for the five shifts you need to make to become an effective manager:


The 5 Shifts: Individual Contributor to Manager


Bosses' Needs -> Skip Level Needs

Know the priorities, concerns, goals, and needs of your skip-level boss. You must develop a broader perspective and see the business from a wide lens.


Tactical Thinking -> Strategical Thinking

A transition from getting things done to planning for the future; you must see the whole system and consider the various challenges that lie ahead.


Having Answers -> Asking Questions

Great leaders empower their teams best work. Asking great questions gets the best ideas, creates ownership and builds excitement to execute a vision.


Growing Yourself -> Growing Others

Mindset must shift to positioning your direct reports for their best success, growth and opportunity.


Fit Within Culture -> Creating Culture

Creating boundaries and establishing what’s allowed contributes to the company culture and how your team is perceived in the organization.


Shifting your mindset is critical and is what clues in management that you're ready for a promotion. When those leaders above you can see these traits and understanding of a larger perspective, you become flagged as someone ready to lead on a larger scale.

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