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Tips for a Smooth Transition to a Management Role in Your Career

Feb 26, 2023 | 0 comments

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Feb 26, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


The process of transition is one which is vital for the growth and development of the organization. As an organization grows, there is high likelihood of transition from one manager to another. Loorbach and Rotmans (2006) highlights that there are two main reasons for management transition. On the one hand, it is possible that the managers have not left the organization but rather moved to another department, or been promoted thus forcing only a few employees especially those under him to face the challenges and possibilities of management transition. On the other hand, managers like any other employee can be forced for either under-performance or mismanagement. This forces employees into a situation of transition and managing change that is imminent.

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Transition management calls for a change of the mind set, for both the incoming manager and the employees to be managed. Much of the time, focus has been put on the employees who are experiencing change, with little being directed towards the incoming manager who is also experiencing some form of change. The move to a new manager calls for wholesome change, there is change in responsibilities, relationships and even different world views. Brindges (2009) concludes by considering the concepts of transition management. Transition management is the strategic planning, implementation and process of monitoring change within an organization. Strategic planning requires a step by step organization of the process of change, implementation calls for the undertaking of various tasks and actions for purposes of managing change. Transition management, identifies areas of risk and manages the process of change so that there is an assurance of the business continuity during the process of change. Changes effected in the organization are designed to ensure a more profitable future which can only be achieved if the process of change is managed properly and effectively.

Challenges experienced during transition

Resistance to change: Stickland (2002) indicates that it is human nature to resist any form of change, especially where such change is uncomfortable. It is important to note that transition introduces various aspects of change to the individuals and employees. Without proper preparation, employees will resist the possibility of behavior change, and the effect that such will have on the relationship of employees. Often during the process of transition, there is an increase of employee disengagement due to changes in relationships. Employees are likely to see the transition or change as a reflection on their won wellbeing and especially security in the workplace. This is especially the case, where management and the manager in question have been fired. Employees may feel that their commitment and performance in the organization is coming under question, which in turn increases the possibility of insecurity in the workplace. When employees are disengaged and insecure, there is little motivation to adapt to the changes, which in turn decrease the productivity of the employees. Resistance to change, according to Raven et al.(2010) is born out of the lack of understanding of the process of change. Change brings with it a lot of unknown aspects, which are not comfortable for the human beings. Employees like to work and are secure with what they know, however transition brings a wider scope of that which is unknown. Employees therefore need to be made aware of why the change is necessary and what specific effects they can expect from the change.

Introduction of new behaviors and ideas: each manager has new leadership styles and new ideas. Majority of the new managers are under pressure to implement and perform much better than their predecessors. In the process of making their presence known and recognized, there is a high likelihood that they will introduce many new ideas during a short time, this will in turn mean many changes within the department or company. Employs are already wary of the manager’s change and therefore the very many new ideas are less likely to be taken up with little resistance. In large and small teams alike, there is a high likelihood that the relationships that have developed over time have centered on the ways that the team works together. Each member of the team has specific functions and roles, which have developed not just from their own description but also over time. The team therefore has structured what they consider to be the most ideal way for them to work together. With a new management, and the new ideas there are high chances that the system which has been developed over time will be threatened. A anew fit will have to be developed, and such changes can only lead to conflict s each team member tried to structure new relationships, fight to maintain old relationships and identify new roles. In order for the new ideas to be successful, it is not just about defining roles and tasks, but rather requires cognitive efforts to direct behavioral change and alter mind patterns so that the success of the new structure can be guaranteed. However, a proper strategy is required and planning is crucial to allow for easy transition.

Poor communication: transition management often faces a challenge in terms of lack of consensus from all who are affected and involved. Each individual within the organization, there are many stakeholders who are affected differently by the changes. Unfortunately, when it comes to management , there are too many stakeholders and if the consensus of each individual was to be considered there is likelihood that there a decision will be hard to come by. Managers are therefore forced to simply to make the decision and then employees and other stakeholders are expected to adapt and alter their behavior to support the imminent changes. Shove and Walker (2007) suggest that the one way in which consensus can be increased on the impending transition and change is by increasing and applying proper communication channels. Poor communication gives birth to immediate resistance. When people are more aware of what is happening, they are more likely to prepare themselves in advance and adapt to the possible change. Unfortunately where management transition is involved, it is often shrouded in much mystery. Open communication is limited, and employees are only made aware of the change when it has already taken place and root. It is vital to keep employees constantly updated and progress of the change implementation. Poor communication makes employees feel as if they are not part of the final decision leading to higher resistance. Employees need to understand why there is need for change, and how such change is for their benefit. Managers often assume that employees do not want to know everything, especially if such information is negative. However, employees clearly want to have both negative and positive information.

Steps to take in transition planning

Needs assessment: transferring management is equitable to transferring and changing the sue of various resources in the business. Previous managers fit a specific role in the company, and it is therefore important to determine not just the current but also future needs of the organization. This ensures that the new manager chosen fits the bill with regard to enhancing the objectives of the business in the future. Like any other employee, and even more so the new manager should be able to address the needs of the organization. Needs assessment is vital in determining the exact fit of the new manager to the organization itself. Gaps exist in the company either in terms of knowledge, resources and practices all of which can be filled through a specific management style. Understanding what is actually working best for the organization and what needs to be changed in itself, identifies and describes the best individual for the role of manager.

Weaknesses and strengths: often transition management is born out of the weakness of a specific manager. However, it is important to note that each manager ahs their own strengths which in themselves work best with regard to performance of the organization. It is important to identify the weakness and strengths of both the predecessor and successor which allows and gives a platform to identify the risks that each manager could expose the organization to and at the same time, the opportunities and positive cultures that the manager has introduced to the organization. Understanding both threats and opportunities allows the organization to mitigate the same and thus transition more positively and smoothly.

Open communication: once the importance of transition has been identified and need for the same established, the next step involved communicating to the employees and other stakeholders of the findings.. The organization needs it set up an one channel of communication which supports the individuals who may have questions and need clarification with regard to the transition process. Kamal Hassan (2005) indicates that more than 80% of all conflicts and resistance to change are due to simple miscommunication. Lack of communication almost always translates to resistance to the change being implemented. A proper system of communication must be identified, structured and put in place for each process of transition. Open communication shows a level of transparency that then allows the employees and stakeholders to continually trust the organization as having their best interests at heart.

Creation of a management plan: a management plan is used to define the boundaries of what the organization and company desire to have and draw from the new management coming into place. According to Francis et al. (2003) it includes a step by step description of the performance measures and the requirements of the new manager. A management plan sets out the objectives of the organization and business and gives an opportunity to set out the tasks that are necessary to ensure successful management. This is a complete blue print of the department and/ or organization is going to run on daily basis, what is expected to be achieved as results of the same daily activities and finally what is the expected outcome of the new management system that has been set up. This gives each employee and the stakeholders a general idea of what to expect.

The transition: this is the most vital component of the transition phase. Callan (2003) defines this stage as the step providing the opportunity for both the staff and the team to prepare for and change both their values and roles redefining them so that they are more suitable to the transition of management. During the process of transition employees see themselves in different stages: first as survivors, who are lucky to have remained in their job even as the mangers and other employees were transited. Secondly they may also view themselves as victims that is, individuals who are targeted by the company and whose chances of survival are limited within the same company. Finally, employees may also see themselves as activities who have to do all they can to fight for the return or the previous manager or at least show and exemplify the loss the company should be feeling following the loss of the manager. During the stage of transition, it is important to consider all the needs and categories of individuals involved. The focus during the transition stage is therefore directed towards enhancing security and fairness to all employees especially those directly affected by the transition of management. Work standards must be maintained and the organization should be seen as stable not only to the employees but also the customers and other stakeholders who may be affected by the transition. Career goals and development muse be seen as secure to the individuals, so that employees understand they are not only valued but also critical for the success of the organization.

Support available during transition

Sponsors: executive and initiating sponsors

Sponsors are the individuals who are responsible and the only ones capable of initiating change within the company. They support and implement the process of transition for the company. Often in many companies these are the executive and board of directors. If a manager is to be fired or promoted, the board must be involved not just in the process of letting go, but also in the process of hiring a new manager. The sponsors provide support by analyzing the required resources for adjustment and ensuring that such resources are available for the employees and stakeholders during the process of transition. Resources such as training, courses and counseling are made available to the employees throughout the process of transition. Sponsors determine when the resources will be made available, for how long as well as the nature of resources that will be provided by the company after assessing the needs of the employees.

Anstey (2006) indicates that the sponsors of transition lay out the foundation upon which the process of the transition is laid down. The sponsors create the vision and objectives that will be used to measure the outcomes of the transition. It is therefore not just about the resources that are necessary for the transition but also the path that is to be followed in the process of transition. Because of the authority of the sponsors, they can implement the actions that are necessary to ensure successful transition from one manager or CEO to another. The newly hired manager or CEO then plays the role of sustaining sponsor, working towards and applying resources of the company to ensure that the transition that has been implemented remains in line with the originally defined goals.

Change agents: couch and consultants

Although majority of the companies ignore the need for change agents, it has been found that those that take the role of the change agent seriously, often find that they have the advantage of smoother transition. Change agents rely on the vision of the implementers to bring about the most ideal form of transition. Once the executives have made the decision to bring about transition, they can hire consultants. Consultants help to provide and build a framework that would produce the most smooth path for transition. Having been involved in more than one transition, they have the experience and ability to determine the most ideal path which can be applied by the company. According to Goffe and Scarse (2015) consultants as a resource can be used in several ways. The first is that they can be used as data gatherers, collecting the right amount of data on needs assessment and ways in which the transition will affect and bring about changes in the business structure.. Secondly, consultants also provide resource in the form of advisors for the various teams to be involved in the transition. The advisory role on the one hand provides information for the sponsors on the best alternative route as well as advise to the employees and stakeholders who have to adjust to the process of transition. Finally, consultants couch, train and facilitate the process of transition for the employees and the company as a whole. They couch employees on the new roles that they will be undertaking, the new tasks that will be assigned to them and the new relationships that they will have to forge in the process of transition.


These are the proponents of the change. External advisors who in themselves support the process of change and understand the viability of the transition. When transition is expected, there are those who are immediately put in the pathway of change. Such individuals e.g. line managers are given the first priority. Over time, they are made to understand the value that the same transition. Once such transition has been understood and value for the same has been established, they come to the forefront and help the company sell the need for change to the others. During the process of transition, they play the role of advocate, championing the need for change to those who might be resistant, also holding and guiding those who may feel lost in the process of transition. Kern and Howlett (2009) conclude change and transition is much easier to adjust to when it is promoted and encouraged by others who are familiar with the employees and who are also seen to be adjusting o the process of change.


During the process of transition, there is often a misconstrued belief that the individuals affected will eventually adjust. However, it is clear that the process of change must be strategically analyzed and properly structured to ensure smooth transition. It is important to ensure that not only is the process properly structured, that there is a proper monitoring and evaluation strategy. Evaluation allows the company to be aware of the challenges that employees are facing in the process of transition, identify possible solutions and address the problems immediately they arise before they begin festering.


Anstey, M. (2006). Managing change: Negotiating conflict. Juta.

Bridges, W. (2009). Managing transitions: Making the most of change. Da Capo Press.

Callan, V. J. (2003). Individual and organizational strategies for coping with organizational change. Work & Stress7(1), 63-75.

Francis, D., Bessant, J., & Hobday, M. (2003). Managing radical organisational transformation. Management Decision41(1), 18-31.

Goffee, R., & Scase, R. (2015). Corporate Realities (Routledge Revivals): The Dynamics of Large and Small Organisations. Routledge.

Kern, F., & Howlett, M. (2009). Implementing transition management as policy reforms: a case study of the Dutch energy sector. Policy Sciences42(4), 391.

Stickland, F. (2002). The dynamics of change: Insights into organisational transition from the natural world. Routledge.

Kamal Hassan*, M. (2005). Management accounting and organisational change: an institutional perspective. Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change1(2), 125-140.

Loorbach, D., & Rotmans, J. (2006). Managing transitions for sustainable development. In Understanding industrial transformation (pp. 187-206). Springer, Dordrecht.


Raven, R., Van den Bosch, S., & Weterings, R. (2010). Transitions and strategic niche management: towards a competence kit for practitioners. International Journal of Technology Management51(1), 57-74.

Shove, E., & Walker, G. (2007). CAUTION! Transitions ahead: politics, practice, and sustainable transition management. Environment and planning A39(4), 763-770.

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