So you’ve been promoted into your first HR Manager’s role.……how can you ensure that you succeed? - Guest Article by Jane Wilson

Firstly – congratulations on your promotion.  Don’t underestimate the shift from Officer level to Manager level – but there are some things you can do to ensure the transition is smooth and successful.

  1. Think of a role model - Think about a manager you have worked with who you admire (HR or otherwise). What makes them a good leader, how did they show this, what behaviour could you see?  It can also be useful to think of someone who is getting it all wrong, worth being aware of what not to do.

You may already have many of these qualities (hence your promotion) but it’s not too late to emulate them and shift your style when taking on a senior if they are not quite where they need to be.

  1. What kind of manager do you want to be? - Using your role model as a guide, think about the kind of manager you want to be, how would you want to be described by your team or colleagues? What kind of relationship do you want to have with your clients (internal and external)?  Are you doing these things now – if not which areas should you be focusing on?

  2. Accept that things will change - You are moving into a new level of role so can’t expect everything to stay the same. You may now be managing former peers or friends so it’s important to acknowledge this and plan how you will handle it.  It’s good to be open about the change and ask for feedback from the team on how they feel about it.  Make sure you challenge yourself to be evenhanded in all your decisions when dealing with friends or previous peers.

  3. Find a supportive sounding board - When you are promoted it can be useful to have a confident either in HR (if the department is big enough), or a peer from another team to sense check decisions or share issues with. Do make sure you can fully trust them before sharing anything confidential if in doubt stick to business and avoid anything sensitive.

  4. HR’s bar is higher - As an HR Manager, you are also expected to be role modelling good or even text book behaviour for the rest of the business. Always try to ensure that processes, consistency and fairness are upheld within the HR team.  It is hard for your team to insist on consistency within the business if it doesn’t exist clearly within the HR department.  People will be watching, and fairly or not, will expect more from HR – be proud to show HR’s best practice.

Great Managers…………….

There are some areas of delivery which are relevant to all management roles, this are my checklist for behaviours of a great manager, they are:

  • Consistent – your team need to be able to rely on you. They should be able to predict how you will react – this makes them feel confident in being able to deliver what you want

  • Clear – set out clearly what you want from your team, they are more likely to achieve it

  • Do what you say – always follow through with comments, don’t agree to make something happen unless you can and want to

  • Think of the team – as a manager you have a responsibility to the whole team which means you need to be fair across the team and keep this in mind when making decisions or offering their services

  • Always have their team’s backs – it is critical that your team know you will back them (even if they have made an error) they need to feel protected, look for opportunities to demonstrate this

  • Are human – you want your team to know you have feelings (just like them) don’t be afraid to show some emotion and personality, don’t be a manager robot!

And enjoy it – it’s a great feeling to have your first management role and developing and leading a team can be some of the most rewarding parts of an HR career.

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