PDC instructor Deborah Kerr on Becoming a New Manager


The Professional Development Center (PDC) offers a wealth of training courses and opportunities to working professionals to help them improve their performance, advance careers or explore new options. Non-credit certificate programs, seminars, workshops, consulting and onsite training are available through PDC to professionals in the greater Austin area and beyond.

In “Making the Transition from Employee to Manager,” new managers learn valuable skills to help them begin leading their direct reports with confidence, and demonstrate success quickly in that all-important first management role.

In the video above, instructor Deborah Kerr discusses special challenges for new managers including delegation and discovering your own management style. "Delegation is a real killer for new managers," says Kerr. "One thing that new managers mention is how hard it is to not jump in and tell an employee how to do a task. Instead, they should communicate and clarify the goal with the employee and decide together on tactics so that the employee can perform and accomplish the goal."

Kerr continues that what makes a good manager is understanding what it means to be a manager and being able and willing to carry out that role. "One of the key responsibilities of managers is to help their employees fully understand what each of their roles are. Sometimes managers never sit down with their workers and describe each of their roles and how their contributions effect the organization."

Kerr also describes problem solving as an important part of the manager's job. "Solving problems is done in collaboration with employees on the team. It can be a shift for a new manager to include other people in problem solving. But that's an important part of organizational learning as well as efficient problem solving." As an example of collaborating to solve problems, Kerr offers, "If a manager notices that deadlines are being missed, they must do two things. First, they have to do analysis on their own to see if they can figure out why deadlines aren't being met. But then, go beyond that to bring the team together and ask them what's going on. What are the barriers? My experience is that managers have got to keep communication open and talk to their people, and talk to them a lot."

"New managers also need to come to terms with the fact that they may not have all the answers," continues Kerr. "They may have been very good as an individual contributor. However, as a manager they have to learn how to not only teach their employees what they know and help them to succeed, but also to learn from their employees. They have to listen to them and learn what they know and use what they know to make a better, more productive environment...There have to be shifts in thinking and shifts in actions to be an effective manager."

Making the Transition from Employee to Manager” is currently scheduled to take place on April 19 and June 23. Online registration is now open for this important class.