What to Expect When Transitioning From an Individual Contributor to a Manager

Marco Sgrignuoli

Engineering Manager at Facebook



I was working in a small company that was growing fast. I was thrilled by their fast growth and wanted to experience that. Very soon we realized that we lacked an organizational structure to support that growth. When the director of engineering offered me to transition to a manager role I eagerly accepted. Yet I wanted to be sure that my team was comfortable with that. Once I was promoted to a manager I felt that I did not have enough impact on my team. As an engineer you can measure how much you have done in a day as you have produced something tangible. For the first three months I was frustrated that I couldn't see any impact I was making.

Actions taken

  • Make sure that the team is aligned: prior to discussing my promotion with me, my manager had already talked to my team and they were all, but one person, comfortable with my promotion.
  • Discovering and practicing my leadership: before I was formally promoted for several months I was discussing with my manager non-technical issues that included forthcoming strategic decisions that helped for the transition.
  • After I was officially promoted I faced the hardest phase of my transition: I had no previous managerial experience and was struggling with delegating tasks to my former team members.

Lessons learned

  • If it is an internal transition the most important thing is to have your team involved. They should be allowed to provide their opinions and feedback before the formal promotion takes place. Trust among team members and managers is the foundation on which success is built on.
  • I would be less frustrated at the beginning if someone had told me what to expect. Though you will not see the results immediately continue to do what you were doing and ask your peers and managers for feedback.
  • Try to connect as much as you can with your peers to avoid feeling lonely and isolated.

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Marco Sgrignuoli

Engineering Manager at Facebook

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyEngineering ManagementPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionSkill DevelopmentIndividual Contributor Roles

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