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7 Tips: From agent to manager

Jakub Slámka | Aug 11, 2017 32 views No Comments

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Nervous about being promoted? Moving from an individual contributor to a people manager is a big change especially without any prior experience. That’s why we bring you 7 tips on making the jump from agent to manager so you can set yourself up for success during your exciting transition!

1. Change from hand on to Hands off work

It can feel weird to go from queue crushing and talking to customers to getting paid for thinking and strategizing. Feeling guilty of not doing as much is a common symptom of changing the type of work. Does mentoring over coffee show up in the numbers? Does reviewing 10 resumes and moving none forward cross anything off your to-do list? Not right away. As a manager, you’ll have days that you look back over and wonder where your time went. Don’t go back to queue crushing just because it feels productive. To combat this, keep a list of the things you accomplished or spent time on. Track yourself.

2. Think big picture, not day to day

As a new manager, your responsibility is to make sure your team sustainably improves and you can’t do that while micromanaging. To start thinking about the long term, create cycles of improvement. Working with your supervisor, create goals and strategies more specific closer to today and vaguer further into the future. Review your progress and modify your customer support goals based on team needs. This will make sure you’ll always head in the right direction and won’t waste any time on daily firefighting.

3. Focus on your new customers

When you’re a manager, your team is your customers. Your customers are still important, but your new job is to advocate for your team first. Any time you spend with your employees helps them be successful. Try one on ones since they are a great investment in your team. If your team accomplishes their goals, you accomplish yours.

4. Don’t assume you must know everything

No one’s expecting you to be perfect from your first day. Abby Armada, the Customer Support Lead at Code Climate, suggests new managers to ‘’not to be afraid to ask for help. Just because you’re a manager now doesn’t mean you know everything about leading a team.’’ Help can come from anywhere. Ask senior managers out to coffee. Bounce ideas off of your manager. Sometimes it helps just to have a sounding board.

5. Treat yo’ self with some self-care

Becoming a team lead means that you aren’t only responsible for your wellbeing, but also the wellbeing of everyone on your team. This can be overwhelming. To prevent burnout, set boundaries and make sure to keep up your self-care regime. If it’s closing your door, taking mental health days or eating properly. Treat yo’ self!

6. Set time to check-in

Time can go quickly and it’s easy to forget what you’ve accomplished so far. Keep a Trello board of projects you’re working on, and those you’ve finished. Add to it weekly, even if it’s something small. Review your progress with your manager in your 1-on-1. This time becomes even more important in your new role because you can bounce ideas off of your manager and confirm that you have the right priorities.

7. Read, a lot

Here’s 5 of our favorite blog posts by people that are pretty good at this management thing:
On 1 on 1s – by Lighthouse

On being a young manager by Sarah Chambers

On managing a team when the sky is falling by Michael Lopp

On emotional fatigue by Simon Ouderkirk

On rethinking habits when you become a new manager by Lindsay Kosko

Keep your head up

Don’t underestimate the jump from agent to manager. Success won’t come from doing the same things you’ve been doing as an agent. To be a great manager, you’ll need to think bigger. It’s a big change! Congratulations on your promotion. You’ll rock it.

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