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Building Networks for the Transition from IC into Management

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Career Path
Personal growth

20 December, 2018

It wasn’t until receiving proper manager training, that Jossie Hanes, Platform Engineering Director at Tile, realized the difference of skills needed as an individual contributor versus that of a manager. Once she came to terms with the transitional focus of spending more time fine-tuning soft skills, she was able to use resources and relationships to guide her transition.

Problem

One of the biggest takeaways I had absorbed from Linda A. Hill's and Kent Lineback's book, Being a Boss, was the need to build a network of people that can support you as manager. Distinguishing myself as more of an introvert, this wasn't such an easy task to adhere to. I first had to master how to build relationships.

Actions taken

  • Before anything else, I had to take a step back and realize the importance of making those initial connections with people in order to propel my plan forward.
  • To keep aligned with my goals, I created an Excel spreadsheet of anybody I was or needed to be interacting with. Once again, I had to take a step back and look at all of my existing projects, interactions, and upcoming projects as a basis of who I needed to put on my list.
  • From early on, I ranked those interfaces based on how often I was talking to each person and would then go through and analyze where and how I was utilizing my time with them. In doing so, I established another column on Excel which centered itself around appointments and last point of contact dates to keep track of time spent.

Lessons learned

  • Building a community of people to talk to establishes a larger support network. It also becomes much easier to collaborate on new projects if you already have an existing working relationship in place.
  • Understanding the need for ample resources, meeting with other managers concerning challenges, and having a mentor are very important aspects to this transition. I realized that you can not do it alone and need help to make things happen.
  • Figuring out who should be in your network is a very personal thing for each particular person. It helps to spend an hour to discover the necessary relationships you should have before going out and building them.
  • It is crucial to have a grasp on forward thinking when deciding who you need to be maintaining relationships with.
  • You need a network of people inside your team and even more outside of your team.
  • Spend a lot of time polishing your soft skills to ensure proper application of concrete feedback and the formulation of sensible questions.

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