Career Transitions: From Specialist to Manager

Career Transitions

One of the biggest career transitions for an employee is when he / she moves from a technical specialist position into a management role.  This transition is difficult for the following reasons:

  1. Managing people as opposed to yourself
  2. Driving performance through others
  3. Letting go of a solely technical focus, which is the measure of performance
  4. Applying both a task and people-orientated approach
  5. Motivating, engaging one’s team and fostering collaboration
  6. Applying a systems perspective where optimisation, and continuous improvement are critical
  7. Developing broader technical expertise across functional areas.
Personal Development Analysis (PDA) 

There are many newly appointed managers that transition successfully, but more who do not. Typical developmental interventions that can be utilised to enhance management effectiveness include management developmental programs, utilising mentors or coaches, general management training via courses and workshops, as well as effective performance management with a developmental focus. All of these interventions add great value, but can be time consuming and costly.

A simple, quick and cost effective way for managers to accelerate their development and effectiveness by assisting with points 1, 2, 4, and 5 above is to use a behavioural tool. Behavioural tools such as the Personal Development Analysis (PDA) allows you as a manager to understand the following:

  • Your own preferences, strengths, developmental areas and management style
  • Each of your team member’s strengths and developmental areas
  • How to manage, motivate and engage team members
  • How to consolidate your relationship with each team member and the team collectively
  • How team members are likely to get along, where they are similar and where they are different
  • Where the teams strengths and developmental areas lie and how these will impact upon performance
  • How to foster great cohesion, collaboration and cooperation
  • Where the teams’ gaps lie and who to recruit into the team to fill these gaps

Using a tool such as the PDA does not guarantee success however when used in conjunction with the other interventions mentioned above it provides a comprehensive platform for successfully navigating the transition to management.

For more information on the PDA and how it can be used as a management development tool please contact or visit