How to Make the Switch from Employee to Manager

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The perspective shifts that will support your next career move

Progressing in our career can be an exciting time. It’s confirmation that we’ve got to the point where we’ve proven our skills, mastered our area of work, and are ready to moveto the next level of leadership. With this comes a new set of challenges, and with the right guidance and support, this can be a highly rewarding and nourishing process.

So we know how to do the job at hand, but our success as a leader extends beyond just core competencies to those behaviours that drive and help thrive the teams around us. We take a look into the specific attributes and attitudes to help you guide you on your leadership journey


Switching from work colleague to manager could be one of the more challenging elements we first recognise as a manager. Resetting your peer-to-peer relationships with other members of your team is going to not only be critical to your success as a manager, but importantly… the entire team. It may feel awkward at first, but sitting down for a face-to-face conversation can be the most professional way to shape this newly defined relationship.

Sit down with your close workmates, and colleagues to talk through how this new relationship is going to work. Be open and transparent t, and discuss any potential boundaries that are going to come into play. If you’re joining a new team – it’s just as important to connect with your team as soon as possible, to set up these same boundaries.

And by all means, don’t let go of social traditions. Just because you’re a manager, it doesn’t mean you need to change that weekly coffee date you have with your colleagues each week, or avoid after work drinks. Leaders can still join in the fun, too!


Possibly not one of the most obvious, but one of the most important. No longer are you setting goals and expectations for yourself – you are doing it for your team. This sounds easy. And it can be. But can be something many new leaders  can easily overlook.

The first step is to ensure you are clear on this  agenda, have set boundaries, and can communicate expectations.t. WIthin the first week, be sure to set up one-on-ones with your team. Why? This allows the space to ensure key goals and milestones are quickly aligned. Once you have your team pushing toward the same agenda, and goal – the more effective and successful your team will be.


Being a leader requires a new skill set. The first stop? Upskilling. Even if you have been in a leadership position before, it’s good to start recognising what new capabilities we can add to our toolkit – as well as sharpen up on those that need refreshing. Could an online course help you better understand something that your team is working on? Or are you needing a mentor, to help guide you into your leadership role?

Alongside your own upskilling, you should also be supporting your teams upskilling efforts. 96% of all professionals deem this as a very important or important part of their careers. Constant upskilling is the new normal, and helps keeps teams relevant, motivated, and counteracts overwhelm. Upskilling could be as simple as hosting workshops every month, passing down your wider knowledge to the team. Or, for a more detailed and technical things, utilising the training providers, or online courses. Even encouraging your team to lead themselves on their own upskilling journey can be powerful.

As Paul Petrone from LinkedIn explains, “Most of the things you’ve learned as an individual contributor, which got you the job of manager in the first place, won’t help you when you become a manager.” and as an example, “you might have figured out a great system as an individual contributor and followed it rigidly. As a manager, you need to be far more open-minded, or you’ll squeeze the innovation out of your employees.” Keeping this in mind, all it can take to be  a really good leader is a simple change in attitude. The quicker this switch is made, the better you’ll be at it.