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The Transition from Individual Contributor to Supervisor, Manager, or Team Leader Comes With  High Risks of Failure

Research shows that nearly two-thirds of all new supervisors and managers fail to make an effective transition from being an individual contributor to their new leadership roles.

Unbelievably, this has been true for years and the failure rate does not fluctuate year to year.

Without a doubt, transitioning from a successful individual contributor role into a supervisory or manager position is fraught with concerns, challenges, and worries. Making this transition is a profound change, even for excellent induvial contributors. Moving into a management or leader position comes with high risks of failure, personal dissatisfaction, and team disenchantment or disengagement.

The reason is that many first-time supervisors are thrown into the deep end of the pool, with little guidance or direction, and with little or no formal training in leadership skills. They are expected to achieve results through others, but often lack the requisite skills in people motivation, engagement, feedback, and development.

In fact, they are often afraid of giving feedback and coaching to the team members they now have to lead. They also have tremendous difficulties communicating unpopular programs and decisions and aligning team members with a newly formed strategic vision or change initiatives.

Ten Transition Traps

Complicating matters further, numerous pitfalls prevent excellent individual contributors from making effective transitions into first-time supervisory and managerial responsibilities. Here are ten transition traps that derail new leaders, managers, and supervisors:

  • Trying to accomplish too much too fast
  • Wearing the “boss” hat too often, too soon
  • Micromanaging (fear of not knowing everything)
  • Trying to mandate buy-in rather than attaining it
  • Believing you need to have all the answers
  • Making changes too quickly and too soon
  • Not understanding the priorities of their boss
  • Not knowing their leadership philosophy
  • Not thinking about their leadership mindset
  • Failing to establish boundaries and expectations

For an explanation of these transition traps, go to my YouTube channel on leadership and watch the video Transition Traps That Derail First-Time Managers and Leaders.

Two other major pitfalls disrupting the smooth transition from a good individual contributor to an effective supervisor, manager, or team leader are 1) the inability to prioritize shifting projects, tasks, and deadlines and 2) not knowing how to lead people through change.

The Right Leadership Transition Solution 

To develop the right leadership skills for becoming a better manager, supervisor, or leader, seek leadership education, not a training program.

There is no doubt that the best education comes not from being taught, but from being inspired. It is why one of my mottos is that “I would rather educate and inspire a hundred than teach a thousand.”

This is why I deliver leadership education programs through various delivery channels, including digital learning, videos, self-paced learning, reinforcement to embed learning, and interactive coaching sessions.

Additionally, almost all leadership training programs have one inherent flaw – participants do not get to speak or interact with their trainer after the program concludes. So they have no one to answer their questions. No one to bounce ideas off. And no one to help them assess how well they are implementing and applying the skills and tools they were taught.

Well, I have fixed that. A key component of my 8-part online leadership education program, called The Art of Great Leadership, includes 24 months of small-group coaching sessions. These 60-90-minute coaching sessions are all recorded if someone cannot attend a session or if anyone wants to go back and review a discussion.

I also provide individual coaching at a reduced rate for participants in any of my digital and virtual leadership development programs. Leadership education is a journey, and I will accompany your managers, supervisors, and leaders on that journey for as long as you and they want.

My goal is simple: to help them improve their current skills as good managers or leaders and develop these skills so they can become great leaders. Leaders who are admired. Leaders who are trusted. Leaders who people look to for motivation, coaching, and direction.

If this sounds interesting, let’s talk.  Let’s discuss your organization’s needs, challenges, opportunities, and desires for leadership development.

Here’s a link to my calendar appointment program. Please select a day and time that is most convenient for you. Together we can make sure The Art of Great Leadership program covers everything your organization needs to shift your good managers to Great Leaders.

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