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How to Shift from Individual Contributor to Manager

Updated: Jun 9, 2023


60% of first-time managers fail within the first 2 years according to Gartner.

And there is only ONE reason behind this:

“What got them here, won’t get them there.”

For an individual contributor, the game is about individual productivity, and it pays to be a subject matter expert. But when you become a manager, the rules of the game change.

Your success is now dependent upon your ability to help others succeed. The game is about team collaboration and soft skills. Being too technical will undermine your career.

First-time managers fail to let go of the workplace persona that helped them thrive as an individual contributor.

From Individual Contributor to Manager? To Leader?
From Individual Contributor to Manager? To Leader?

Let’s overcome this prominent struggle.

As a coach, I have helped many individual contributors successfully shift their mindsets to lead others. Here are the 10 lessons I have learned from this experience. If you apply them, you are guaranteed success.

1. Shift from ME to WE

2. Spend 1-on-1 time with every employee on a weekly basis

3. Understand your employees’ drivers (Recognition? Rewards? Challenges?) and motivate them accordingly

4. Know their top 3 strengths and delegate accordingly

5. Co-create a vision, a roadmap, and clear responsibilities

6. Regularly check-in with your key stakeholders

7. Communicate your goals and vision.

8. Adjust your narrative based on feedback.

9. Embrace your UNIQUE leadership style. Others are taken.

You don’t need to be an ALPHA male to be a great leader. Be authentic. Stick to your core values"

10. Find a coach – the most successful people have one! Do you think Federer succeeded on his own?

Congratulations: you are now a successful Manager!

Are you ready to climb the corporate ladder and become a great Leader?

Most of us are aware of the challenges to shift from Individual Contributor to Manager, but very few truly understand the challenges to shift from Manager to Leader.

But when you become LEADER, the rules of the game change. AGAIN.

If you don’t know how to influence, manage ambiguity, and inspire with a compelling vision, you're out of the game. To climb the corporate ladder, you need to let go of your past persona and shift your mental game every few years because “What got you here, won’t get you there.”


Download handy eBooks to help you climb the leadership ladder and become your own life coach!

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