Knowledge Center

3 Tips for a Successful Transition from Doer to Manager

By Andrea McOwen

3 Tips for a Successful Transition from Doer to Manager

Have you recently been promoted to management? As a manager do you understand your new role? In Episode 34 of the Strategic Insights Podcast, Andrea McOwen, Bob Parks, and Joane Ramsey share three tips for successfully transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager.

Andrea: 00:01 Welcome to Strategic Insights brought to you by Strategic Enhancement Group. I'm Andrea McOwen and today I'm joined by Bob Parks and Joane Ramsey. Our topic for discussion today is sharing three tips for ensuring a smooth transition when moving from doer to manager.

To get promoted, an employee demonstrates that he or she has a good work ethic, is reliable and has the ability to solve problems. These are all good things and yet as a manager, the person who used to be a doer must now get things done through others. Here are some tips for successfully moving from a doer to a leader. Joane, why don't you start us off.

Joane: 00:42 Thank you, Andrea. I'm glad to be here. One of the tips is don't solve every problem. Learn to feel a sense of achievement from getting results as a team versus only your own efforts. I think when managers become managers from being doers, they tend to want to go back to that. It's important to understand that their job is to give the employees the skills and understanding they need to do their jobs and solve their own problems. You want to get your team to come up with the answers and solutions on their own to keep them from being overly reliant on you.

Bob: 01:18 You know, Andrea, the best examples we work with of leaders that do this are leaders who ask a lot of questions of their employees. When an employee walks in with an issue or a problem, a really good manager will say as a first thing, "Well, what do you think? How would you do it? What's your best solution?" By asking these questions, you get the employee to be thinking about, "How would I solve this problem if my boss wasn't here?" Then next time they don't have to come into your office.

Andrea: 01:52 I think that's a really good example. Our second tip is make sure that you're creating conditions for success. Your opinion or direction is not the only one that counts. When you listen to your direct reports, you are likely to get some really great ideas and insight while you're serving as a mentor at the same time. Recognize that when you create the right conditions, your employees will assume greater responsibility for their performance. These conditions include setting clear expectations, giving timely and constructive feedback, communicating accurate and relevant information, providing consistent support and asking for input from your direct reports.

Joane: 02:36 Andrea, that's a great point. An example of that would be to have weekly meetings and go over what's on the docket for the week. Encourage your team to bring their ideas to the table and ask them how they plan to work on them. To Bob's point, if you are asking questions, you will slowly build them to the point where they're not coming to you anymore. The beauty of asking questions is that slowly you will build trust with your team and your team will feel that their contributions are being valued. You work with them and not by yourself.

Bob: 03:07 I think the other thing to point out here is that the consequence for not doing this is that your best employees will be frustrated and leave. We see turnover problems frequently because this attitude of success, this environment of success is not created.

Andrea: 03:27 I think that's a really good point. So Bob, you had the final tip to share today.

Bob: 03:32 Yes, the last thing I think we'd like to say is that it's fairly important for new managers to understand that it's not just about managing down to your staff. It's also very important to manage up and working with your supervisor.

It's really interesting to us as we talk with hundreds of managers and executives, how the communication between levels seems to not exist. We talk to executives and they will tell us their plans and their objectives and they swear that everyone that works for them understands these plans and objectives. Yet we walk down the hall to the people that report to them and ask them, "What are the plans and objectives for this department?" And they haven't a clue. It's amazing how sometimes that information going the other way is equally missing. We have executives that make, or maybe even middle managers that make business decisions based on the way they think things are happening in the plant or in their group, only to find out that no one told them that things have changed and the environment has changed in that particular organization.

So it's really important for new managers to learn that they need to communicate upward to their boss and make sure that their boss understands the current situation on an ongoing basis.

Andrea: 05:02 I think the thing to remember is that managers are held accountable for creating an environment in which the best work can go forward.

To summarize, if you empower your employees to come up with the best solutions to solve problems, you manage your team but also report key information up to your boss and create conditions under which employees can grow, you will have a higher performing team that is fulfilled in their work. You're off to a great start. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please visit us at

Can't listen now?

Let us know what you think and please feel free to share!

Published: January 7, 2021

If your promotion to manager is not going well, we can help.

Learn how to ensure a smooth transition when moving from doer to manager.

Contact Us


Andrea McOwen


Andrea McOwen has over 30 years of business experience and has been with Strategic Enhancement Group for 28 years. As the President of Strategic Enhancement Group she is leading the day to day and future direction of the company. Andrea manages the business relationships with Strategic Enhancement Group’s international business partners and coordinates the appropriate resources needed around the world to meet our global clients’ needs. Andrea has managed large global implementations for many diverse global clients and is experienced managing projects in 36 countries in every region of the world. Andrea has a strong foundation in sales, service and management. Andrea’s ability to quickly demonstrate an understanding of organizational issues, needs and priorities has gained her the confidence and trust of customers and employees alike. Andrea graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. degree in fashion merchandising/interior design with a minor in business administration. Prior to joining SEG she worked with a merchandise wholesaler in sales and marketing and was a General Manager in retail.

Recent Posts

Monthly Tips and Insights to Help Develop Your Best Sales Talent

Join over 1,100 professionals for the Strategic Insights Newsletter
Copyright Strategic Enhancement Group 2006-2023 All Rights Reserved
Site by Neuvocreate