New Managers: Alone and Out of Their Depths

By Mark Vickers

Being a new manager is a lot like learning how to swim. You can watch others, study a chart about it or even read a book on it. But ultimately, you learn by doing.

That's not to say that you just jump in the deep end by yourself and hope for the best. Far from it. There's usually a transition period where you paddle around the shallow end, helped and safeguarded by a teacher or coach. If your instruction is any good, you hit the deep end only when you've learned a stroke or two. And, even then, there's somebody there to support you if you need it. 

But when people are first promoted into management, a different approach is often taken. Sure, they may get some training, if they're lucky, but then they're often just thrown into the deep water. Sink or swim. There's not much of a transition and, even if there is, there's nobody really keeping track of success in any meaningful way.

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