Bruce Tulgan is the new Tom Peters.
Howard Jenkins, Chairman and CEO (fmr.), Publix Super Markets, Inc.
May 30, 2014

Management Challenge #1: When Going From Peer to Leader
Excerpted from The 27 Challenges Managers Face

Next to soft-pedaling authority, the most common mistake made by new managers promoted from within the team is coming on too strong: Sometimes when you are promoted from within you might feel like you need to prove yourself right away. Assert strength and confidence. Take on any detractors. Show them who is boss now! Or maybe you have been so eager to take charge for so long—so sure you know what’s what, who’s who, and what needs to be done.

Big mistake. What should you do instead?

Start out strong, for sure, but also with maturity and balance. You have to acknowledge the big change and assume command of the team; take charge; accept the mantel of authority. You do NOT need to explain why you were the right one for the promotion. You don’t need to justify why you are now the boss. Instead assume your position and explain how you are going to operate as the new manager. Start out with this message to the team: “‘I’ve been honored to be part of this team. Now I’m honored to be the manager of this team. We all have existing relationships. Those relationships will change to greater and lesser degrees now that I am your manager. I take this responsibility very seriously. I am committed to being really good at it. I am hoping you will help me.”

That would be a very good start.


How to get on-board and up-to-speed? You don’t learn first and take charge later. You take charge by learning:

In every one-on-one conversation with every employee, ask pointed questions: “What do you do? How do you do it?” Then move on to discuss next steps. “What are you going to do next? How? How long is that going to take? Why?” Then follow up next time. “What did you do? How did you do it?”

Watch employees work. You learn a lot from actually watching someone performing his tasks and responsibilities in action that you cannot learn any other way.

Ask employees to help you keep track of their actions by using self-monitoring tools like project plans, checklists, and activity logs. Employees can monitor whether they are meeting goals and deadlines laid out in a project plan, make notations within checklists, and report to you at regular intervals.

Check your employees’ work carefully in process. If an employee is not responsible for producing a tangible end product, then watching that employee work is the same thing as reviewing work in progress. If she is responsible for an end product, spot-check it while she is working on it. You can’t actually keep track of everything every employee does, but you can check random samples on a regular basis.

Gather intelligence. Ask customers, vendors, coworkers, and other managers about their interactions with specific employees. Always ask question about the employee’s work, never about the person.


Coming to bookstores everywhere September 15 from Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

Click Here to pre-order on Amazon

Click Here to pre-order on Barnes & Noble


I’m thrilled to announce that my newest book will be coming out very soon!!!! The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems will be published by Wiley/Jossey-Bass in September! Of course, I am hoping you will order one for yourself and one for every manager you know when the time comes… And if you love it, even go on Amazon on give me a great review. In the meanwhile, I’m going to share a bunch of highlights by way of preview — through this newsletter, articles, and every other way I know how. I hope you enjoy the previews enough to look forward to the book. Please let me know what you think. I’d love to get your feedback. Until next time……

Stay strong!



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