If you’re in charge of development for your organization, what are you doing to manage transitions for your people? And by transitions, I don’t mean the exodus of folks out the door, but you should have a plan to manage that, I’m talking about how you manage people as they progress through their careers and transition into new roles. Helping people maneuver through the transitions is challenging, but doable. If you set them up right to handle the turn you’ll see productivity rise more quickly as they come out of the turn. It’s like watching a race car handle an hairpin turn, the ones that set the turn up right from the outset get to full speed faster than those that take the wrong preparation into the turn.
Many organizations we work with actively manage the transition from outside of an organization to inside an organization, but not all manage the transition points for their internal employees. The assumption is that they’ve made it, they had the ability to promote to the next level, they understand how we operate, they get the culture, and they’re prepped and ready to take on the next level. Unfortunately, that’s not the case more often than not. Progression and promotion through a career is not simply a matter of expanding your scope every time you get a new title.
There’s a fundamental change of responsibilities, behaviors and expectations as you promote into more senior roles. This takes preparation and diligence. It requires not only a behavioral shift but a psychological one as well. If you’re new to leading people you can no longer rely on getting things done on your own. You gave to learn to give up that mentality; you have to come to terms with allowing others to take on initiatives and to receive recognition for a job well done. The biggest thing we see in organizations is an assumption that the workhorse individual contributor will make a good leader, because they get things done. The biggest challenge for these folks is learning that they can’t do it all alone, they need their team and it requires significant change for them.
Transitions at every level have consequence and associated impact to the employee and to the organization. You can help manage these transitions by creating support mechanisms for your people. Training is one example, but it can’t be the only solution. Most of the growing pains and learning that occurs happens on the job, you need to account for that and build real systems that are both flexible, adaptable and timely.