Five traits for successful transition managers

Want to be in one of the most employable jobs in the world? Become a transition manager!

There’s a rapidly growing market worldwide for people in transition or change management. So much so that one of our clients said recently:

“There is no normal any more. The world has changed so dramatically and will change again. That is why you need people who can create and deliver new visions.”

There’s huge demand for people today with experience in helping organisations deliver change. Here are the five key traits that the most successful among them share:

1. They’re action-oriented

Transition managers need to translate the new vision and direction into tangible progress. While most transformation today is led by big strategic thinkers, they need the support of ‘doers’ to drive and achieve the change that’s needed. That takes some important skills: strong project management, leadership and a strong focus 

2. They have high emotional intelligence

Following on from a previous blog of ours, emotional intelligence is a highly important characteristic in many roles. It means that the manager can control their own emotions well at work, even in times of great pressure. But it also means that they can read and manage the emotions of others. Any change can be unsettling and worrying for employees. An emotionally intelligent leader will sense their concern, listen to them and respond appropriately.

3. They’re risk tolerant

Any kind of business change carries with it a level of risk. Will the new approach actually work? Will it achieve what leaders think and hope it will? Perhaps employees will resist it: they might leave or unite against you. More simply, can the change be delivered in the timescales that have been set? Transition managers are rarely the type of people that have sleepless nights worrying about the negative possibilities of something. They are pragmatic, focused on delivery and instead of panicking about the risks, they seek to identify and manage them as part of their role.

4. They’re good communicators

Strong and successful communication is essential. One of the key reasons that change programmes go wrong is that insufficient information is shared: with leadership, with the change team, with employees. The transition manager needs to keep everyone informed, all the time. The programme is likely to be under great scrutiny, and nobody at work ever likes surprises.

5. They prepare for the unexpected

No matter how meticulously they are planned, change programmes are never smooth sailing. The external environment could shift; the timeline might need to change; a senior leader could leave the organisation at a pivotal moment. A good transition manager will take those challenges in their stride. Whether or not they have a contingency plan in place, they will react calmly and professionally to solve the issue. Sound like the job for you? Seek out some experience – there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in change. You’re about to join a career that’s challenging, fast-paced, demanding… but highly rewarding.

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