Category Archives: Leadership

How do I go from managing myself to managing others – How do I behave?

Are you ready to take the step from managing self to managing yourself to other?

Making the move from technical, specialist expert to leading other will be easier for some people as they will have innate qualities, desire to lead, or enjoy the challenge and responsibility that comes with leading people.

Over the last 15 years I have supported hundreds of people to become effective managers across numerous industries i.e. financial service –professional services, energy, media, public sector.

As I reflect on my experience I see that people constantly require support is around how they should behave when they have to manage others. As an individual contributor the main focus of a role is, getting the right results. The how element of how you carry out a role may not be so significant especially if you are successful in a role or generate good levels revenue for the business. In today’s work place the shift to how you achieve tasks and goals is becoming more and more important especially for managers as this has an impact on employee engagement, work culture, motivation of people and the overall success of a business.

What is the challenge of moving from managing self to managing others?

 A key challenge moving from managing yourself to managing others is the transition from doing things yourself to getting things done through others. To be successful as a new manager requires a shift in attitude that enables you to be comfortable working through others which very few new managers are adequately prepared to handle.

New managers may recognise the transition has to happen of working through others intellectually, but reject it psychologically, as evidenced by their behaviours. Typically they overpower their direct reports with their expertise.

In the Leadership Pipeline Charan, Drotter and Noel highlighta number challenges I come across on a regular basis working with new managers:

  • Managers not being able to let go, trusting others to do the task  – ‘they will never be able to do it as good as me’ ‘If I want  the job done to my standards, I might as well do it myself’
  • Managers not delegating at all or enough
  • How to motivate generally, or how to motivate people through organisational change  
  • Getting messages across effectively – Giving and receiving feedback
  • Having difficult/challenging  conversations
  • Lacking confidence and self-belief moving into an unknown arena of having to manage others, e.g. peers group, older, more experienced and knowledgeable colleagues 

For me there are no specific 10 steps you can follow to make the transition from managing self to managing others. However you can prepare and build on your current capabilities to manage and lead others. Looking at inspirational managers and leaders past and present you can create your own unique specific list of actions to ensure you behave in a manner that makes the right impact on others.   

How does the ideal new manager behaviour?

People have been trying to answer the questions of what makes a great leader for centuries. Thought leaders and gurus on leading people and leadership provide some interesting areas to consider. Key themes emerging from the leading figures such as: Stephen Convey, James O’Tootle, Warren Bennis, Max DePree’s , Burt Nanus, and other leadership gurus and institutes.

A new leader of people might want to consider how they bring to life some of the following behaviours as they prepare to make the shift from managing self to managing others:

  1. Capable of outlining the ‘Why’ we are here for people – Also outlining own personal beliefs on the task or role ahead
  2. Acting with Integrity
  3. Providing open clear transparent  communication consistently
  4. Taking the time to actively listen – Seeking different perspectives
  5. Making everyone feel valued – Leading with respect for everyone
  6. Being supportive  -Building trust
  7. Exhibit energy and passion for work including challenges
  8. Operating with confidence even under pressure
  9. Looking for continual improvement, challenging the status quo

A person shifting into the role of managing other for the first time must be aware that that the above is a gradual process. It is important for a new manager to remember the above behaviours can’t be achieved all at once and also in some cases may not be relevant, it will be situational with no two scenarios being the same.

Comparing the work of gurus with the work of IBM Smarter workforce on High Performance Behaviours of leaders stemming over the last 20 years, I have listed a few more areas to consider:  

  • Developing talent – Taking personal responsibility for supporting and developing others by acting as a mentor, coach or trainer
  • Improving performance of self and other via a matrix or balance scorecard of specific measurable targets in a clear line sign with the wider businesses goals
  • Implementing change to get others to take action to change the internal or external environment; providing greater opportunities and more freedom of action to the team
  • Building confidence of others – Personally builds the confidence of others in the own capacity to succeed or in the future success of their team, function or business
  • Fostering collaboration – Builds strategies and processes to encourage open team interaction and team development. Networking and building relations other teams.


Making the shift from managing self to managing other may be a smooth process for some and tough for others depending on the situation. The transition could be managed effectively, by looking at where you are now and where you would like to be in the future as a person managing other, ‘Think with the end in mind’ Stephen Convey.

Decide how you would need to alter your approach to exhibit some of the behaviours highlighted to be effective managing other.

Develop the following skills: Delegating, Giving Feedback, Listening and questioning skills, Coaching, Influencing.   

Take the time to get to know the people you are managing, find out what makes them tick, what they value inside and outside of work. This will enable you to know what buttons to push to motivate them.

Arrange events inside and outside work to bring people you are managing together, also get one or two quick wins for the team and individuals to enable you to make the right impact from the start.

The experiences of shifting from managing yourself to other is a fulfilling and rewarding one, think about the legacy you would like to leave behind, as it will help guide and influence how you behave whilst managing others.

Remember it is not about you, it is about them! Take steps to be a relationship builder not a relationship destroyer.

So moving from managing self to managing others – ‘Behaviour breeds Behaviour’

I wrote this article during my time as Senior Talent Consultant at IBM between 2011 and 2016.