Contrary to the general assumption, making the shift from a technical or functional role to a general management role can be smooth with the right approach. While an MBA for experienced professionals like yourself can help prepare you for the transition, your success also depends on how you adapt to the leadership role.
Here are some pointers:
- Create a positive culture of trust:
When you were in a functional area, your decisions affected your work and your immediate team usually. But in a managerial role, what you decide may not always appear to be in the best interest of each functional area in your organisation. This is because you’ll be considering the big picture. So, keep things fair and work on building a climate of trust with your employees. Let them know that you are ready to listen to inputs and constructive feedback and make sure you practice it too. On the other hand, if you notice that a worker is trying to ruin the work culture by creating conflicts in the team, take action before things get difficult.
- Get out of your comfort zone:
Being in a managerial role requires you to prioritise every area of the business that you are looking after. You need to adapt quickly and be open to developing new perspectives – even if it is in the functional area earned you the promotion. That means that you cannot let your expertise cloud over reason and new trends. Don’t make assumptions based on your past. Go with the flow every time you get an opportunity to learn in your new position.
- Redefine what value means to you:
Revenue is important for the business. Making an impact with each project or task used to be at the top of your priority list. Now, the correct approach is to look at the long term too. Pay attention to the long-term effects of your actions on the entire business. You need to emphasise on long-term success factors such as integrity, good work habits, and client relationship. Once your employees understand that, you are focused on the organisation-wide impact of everything that you and they do, they will be a lot more cooperative, and in turn, team efficiency will significantly improve.
Think about your customers:
During any decision-making, remember that business doesn’t exist without its customers. Competitive advantage is the key to surviving in your space, so you should address a customer-driven, efficiency-oriented strategy as you aim to gain and retain that competitive advantage. Revenue and customers go hand-in-hand.
- Build and reinforce the team:
Even in the top ranks of a company, teamwork cannot be overlooked. As a manager, you are expected to promote an environment of mutual respect, ethics, and common goals. Are your employees communicating as well as you’d like them to? You need to be observant. A team that functions well is productive and is essential for the organisation’s success. Experts suggest holding team-building activities regularly – such as joint visits to charitable institutions or group sports.
So be willing to lead, open to new experiences and dedicated to value creation. Be ready to understand employees, while facilitating a healthy environment to achieve long-term goals. It is challenging but not impossible once you are armed with an elite MBA degree and all the skills and experiences that come with it.
See the entire list of benefits that you can expect if you attend the Nanyang Fellows MBA programme.