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Transition to Manager-Leader

RHR offers foundation skills programs for both supervisors and managers. It is recognized that the two roles are distinct, with different accountabilities, skill-sets and knowledge requirements. Moreover, many issues and challenges exist when transitioning from the supervisor/professional role to that of a manager or senior manager/leader. The course will be titled Transition to Manager, targeting primarily supervisors and professionals who are looking to obtain a manager position as part of their career development plan.

Our Proposal
Through work with other clients, we have discovered that most organizations recognize a hierarchy of skill requirements, which depend on the level of the individual in the organization. Skill requirements change as the employee moves through an organization from individual contributor to supervisor to manager and senior manager / leader. This hierarchy is consistent with organization levels that do the work, get work done through others, and/or lead the organization into the future.

Skills Hierarchy
A difficult transition occurs as the employee moves from individual contributor to manager. In most organizations, the most technically proficient employee becomes the
manager or supervisor, often without having the required management skills to set targets and to get results through others.
Another difficult transition occurs as the operationally proficient manager becomes a senior manager / leader, often without having the skills to set direction and to lead the organization into the future.

For example, we have found several key differences between managers and senior managers (or leaders) in most organizations (see chart below).

Do things right
Focus on efficiency
Focus on processes
Rely on control
Organize and staff
Emphasize tactics, structure, and systems
Short-term view (1-12 months)
Ask how and when
Accept the status quo
Focus on the present
Have their eyes on bottom line
Develop detailed steps and timetables
Seek predictability and order
Avoid risks
Use position-to-position (superior-to-subordinate) influence
Require others to comply
Operate within organizational rules, regulations,
policies, and procedures
Meet expectations

Do the right things
Focus on effectiveness
Focus on people
Rely on trust
Align people with corporate direction
Emphasize philosophy, core values, and shared goals
Long-term view (1-5 years)
Ask what and why
Challenge the status quo
Focus on the future
Have their eyes on the horizon
Develop visions and strategies
Seek change
Take calculated risks
Use person-to-person influence
Inspire others to change
Operate outside of organizational rules, regulations, polices, and procedures
Take initiative

Sources: Writings of Warren Bennis, Burt Nanus, Robert Townsend,
John P. Kotter, Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Warren Blank, Jon R. Katzenbach, and others.

Transition Issues and Challenges

We will discuss how to differentiate between managing and leading, a requirement for senior managers and highly desired at the manager level. We use the following graphic to show the overlap of skill requirements at all levels of the organization.

We will also address the major issues and challenges facing an employee when transitioning to a manager role. These can include managing former peers; focusing on his or her technical skills, not the management skills now required; the need to gain leverage and achieve results through others, etc.

We will show the participants how to become more proactive in anticipating and preparing for these issues and challenges and to develop an action plan for the transition. We will also show how to co-opt the major supports/resources available to an employee going through the transition period (human resources, training courses, coaching, mentoring, etc.).