On the Transition from IC to Manager

The truth is that a large part of this transition will be personal work that falls to you.

Do not let it feel like something that’s just happening to you. Take the reigns to LEVEL UP for this next stage in your career.

What again, is a Technical Manager?

Change The Way You Think

  1. do the work (productivity), or,
  2. champion a solution/be the subject matter expert (SME) (knowledge), or,
  3. stay hyper-focused on developing your skillset (interest-driven dedication).
  1. Achieve outcomes without performing the work (delegation), and,
  2. Learn how to develop another human being (empathize), and,
  3. Elevate your perspective (Big-Picture Thinking), and,
  4. Function inter-departmentally (Socialize/Compromise).
  • identifying alternative paths to achieve outcome,
  • learning how to ask the right questions,
  • developing a management style,
  • garnering support for our ideas,
  • zooming out to see the big picture,
  • learning where to look for great talent.

Achieving Outcomes

While you’re ultimately still on the hook for a successful outcome, you can’t achieve it by doing the work yourself. Sherpas do not take people to the peak by carrying them.

  1. Stand up straight with your feet together, hands at your sides.
  2. Relax your shoulders, chin up, stick your chest out.
  3. Engage your abs to lift up out of your hips.
  4. Stick your butt out and slowly bend forward at the hip.
Photo by Yannic Läderach on Unsplash

Knowing how to do something isn’t the same as telling someone how to do it.

Permit Questions To Become Your Answer

  1. If I were not here, where could you find that information? (Discover)
  2. What do you think would be some good first steps? (Empower/Plan)
  3. How would you recommend we break down the work into manageable chunks? (Plan/Action)
  4. So, where do you think we should go from here? (COMBO MOVE)

In the story of management, you play the role of guide, not hero.

Develop Your Management Style

  1. Understanding the role of HR
  2. Inclusion
  3. Systems of rewards, accountability, and responsibility

Soft Skills and Making Decisions

  1. How would I feel if I had this problem?
  2. How will this change affect a person’s workflow?
  3. What factors are driving my employees’ needs or interests? Ease of use? Functionality?

Your relationship with time will combine with your acute business and technical acumen to unlearn the habit of giving everything equal attention.

  • Person A cannot login to email because they forgot their password.
  • A firewall issue is preventing an entire office from accessing the internet.
  • Your CFO is asking for an updated Q2 IT budget for next week’s team meeting.

Zooming Out

This means that as a manager, you’ll have a wider field of vision, but less depth.

  1. How do we achieve alignment between our processes and organizational objectives?
  2. Which metrics should we monitor to indicate success or identify improvement opportunities?
  3. Which silos can we move to consolidate into a unified system?
  1. Creating a roadmap or strategy that aligns with company OKRs.
  2. Identifying major problems and work backwards towards solutions.
  3. Creating templates and guides for compounding time-efficiency gains.

If you want to go on a hike or go camping, would you just show up to the trailhead one morning?

Identifying Talent

  • consistently overworked,
  • straddling multiple iniatives and playing multiple roles, or
  • never able to prioritize high level thinking.
  • Crafting a neutral and inclusive job description (JD),
  • Understanding role budgeting, setting appropriate compensation bands, and learning which perk levers are available to offer candidates,
  • Identifying candidates on LinkedIn, through your network, and/or by reading their applications to your job posting,
  • Creating an interview panel, skills assessment, and scoring rubric,
  • Encouraging candidates in offer acceptance and throughout their start.

Guidelines for a Successful Transition

Mentorship & Reading

Obtain Non-Technical Certifications

Learn to Inspire

Become a Facilitator

Training Opportunity

Understand Modern Managerial Practices

Reach out!



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Dave Bour

Dave Bour

Building IT infrastructure and teams where there was none before. Fitness, wellness, and adventure enthusiast. Engagements at theitplan.com