There may not be an industry in which a promotion to management is more challenging. A newly promoted manager is going from a large pond to a very small one without ever leaving the building. They suddenly depart the life of an employee (which tends to be social and self-focused) to the life of a manager (which tends to be isolating and universal).
Managers who have been promoted usually have a hard time abandoning the perspective of an employee. This impacts every part of their new role, including:
- How they view employee issues
- How they implement change
- How they handle new responsibilities
- How they communicate with managers
In almost every instance, there is a huge transition that takes time when assuming a full-time management position. Everyone involved should be prepared for the length of this transition and be patient. Great managers are not built in a day.
See the Big Picture
The truth is that it’s often the second management job that catapults a manager toward real professional growth. A young manager with an eye toward a career should remember to think long-term and not get too caught up in the ups and downs of life as a manager, especially when there are more downs than ups.
This means learning as much as possible and being a quiet supporter. It means learning the instinct to be quiet and listen, even when the impulse to speak up is overwhelming. It also means transforming your mindset toward work, and even deciding that you can work harder than you realize.
Use the Assets the Other Managers Don’t Have
Regardless of experience level or age, new managers have strengths that their colleagues lack. They likely have strong rapport and friendships with employees, who might be able to see the manager’s perspective because of it. There’s usually nothing wrong with leaning on employees every now and then, especially when the job seems overwhelming.
It’s also important to remember that the newly promoted manager can more easily see the employee perspective, or even what it’s like to be the guest. This can be a great tool for smoothing out this transition.
Scale Back Fraternization
This isn’t always possible, but it’s worth the effort to gradually step back from fraternizing with employees. This might mean just going out once a week with coworkers or limiting the time spent socializing at work. It doesn’t mean closing off friendships or alienating employees by being less friendly.
Many corporations have rules against managers fraternizing with employees. While this is pretty extreme, the intention is to avoid playing favorites and to maintain managerial authority. A gradual step back from hanging out with employees is a good idea.
The physical demands of working long hours can be the biggest challenge, especially when the promotion is a step up from a part-time role. Newly promoted managers should be sure to develop healthy habits, including:
- Reducing heavy late-night meals
- Going out at night less frequently
- Having at least one healthy meal each day
- Getting exercise
Many managers sacrifice health when assuming new responsibilities and long hours. This is a good way to wind up exhausted and burnt out after a few weeks.
It’s easy to underestimate the challenge of transitioning from a cash-based income (for servers who earn tips) to a salaried one. Management means bimonthly paychecks, which can throw a wrench in a monthly budget. However, this is generally offset by the chance to eat at work and earn benefits, both of which can be a great asset when working out a budget.
It’s a good idea to put aside money every month if possible. It’s also helpful to buy something practical after a few months of saving, such as a new car or nice work clothes. Having a symbol that reminds you that your hard work has tangible rewards is a great incentive.
Remember: They Like You
Managers who have been promoted should always remember they were hired for a reason. The new manager has skills or assets that the operator likes. This can be helpful, especially as the demands of the job begin to take a toll. This is a challenging industry, and rewards are not always right around the corner. Praise can be fleeting or even non-existent. New managers should always remember that there is a reason they were hired.