If you are good at your job, there will come a time when an opportunity in management comes knocking.
This “standard path” up the corporate ladder makes perfect sense from a career point of view. However, the jump from the world of coding to the world of management is a big one. Instead of relying heavily on left-brained technical skills, managers must be able to resolve conflict, communicate a vision and allocate resources.
If you are making the management jump in a large company, there may be a formal program to help you transition into the role. A smaller business may not have a formal transition structure in place and that would mean you’ll have to learn the ropes yourself, and possibly carve out your own duties, which may include a bit of coding.
If you’re considering the jump to management, here are a few things that can make it smooth transition.
Is management right for you?
Prior to making the jump, think about whether you have the predisposition to be a good manager. Writing code for a living can make for a pretty regular workday. Management, conversely, means dealing with people and that can make your day, week or even year pretty unpredictable, as you’ll have to be there for your team.
Managers need some degree of people skills, or at least the capacity to empathize with other, as well as a desire to develop “soft skills.”
If you are uncertain you even want a leadership role, taking the lead on a project can give you the chance to test out a management position before you accept one.
Find a mentor
If you have the disposition and the skills to become a good manager, it’s important to find a mentor who can help you avoid common pitfalls.
Locate a mentor who’s been in the same management position for several years. These folks have learned the ropes, but the transition is still fresh in their mind, which will make it easier for them to identify with you.
Get formal training
Even if your employer doesn’t mandate it, it’s a good idea to enroll in some formal management and leadership training. Courses on leading others, conflict resolution, negotiation and coaching are all worth your time, effort and money. Also, if your human resources department has formal training on conducting employee performance reviews, be sure to sign up for it.
Move forward and leave coding behind
Once you make the transition, you may notice the need to jump in and assist your crew with each coding issue. Don’t fight the urge and you’ll become known as a micromanager that people don’t want to work for.
Instead of fixing all their mistakes, you have to simply oversee your team, and provide them with room to grow. Make sure you are regularly asking your team how can help them get better. Be sure to ask on an individual basis, as each person has their own needs.
At Thompson Technologies, we help skilled professionals make the leap into management. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your career.