Changing Job Role? Develop These 5 Key Transition Skills

Saloni Sachdev

By Saloni Sachdev

On May 13, 2021

Transitioning to a new role, whether within the same company or in a new one, can help or hinder the pace of your career. Do it effectively, and you can quickly get established. Stumble, and you may have to spend time recovering.

Even when a transition gets made without speed bumps, there could be missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential.

Whether you are considering ways to effective leadership or the criteria to advance your career, business experts talk a lot about skills. Hard skills, soft skills, skill development—there’s no question honing a range of skills is essential to success, as well as advancement.

In most organizations – there is a subset of skills that haven’t gotten the attention they should: Transition skills, the behaviors and abilities that impact the move to a new role.

Transition Skills

Here are five areas you must focus on to ease the transition:

Prepare yourself mentally. Consciously disconnect yourself from the old role and think about how you will approach the new one. If possible, take some time off between the two so that you have space to think. Also, keep in mind that any change—even great changes—can be unsettling, and plan to make room in your daily routine to center yourself (in whatever way works for you).

Be proactive about learning. You already know a lot, but a learning curve is by nature built into any transition. There will be additional or new policies, procedures, and processes, and you may be part of a different organizational structure. Think about what you’ll need to understand to be most efficient in your role and who is the right person to ask, and proactively seek out that information.

Build productive relationships. Working relationships go up, down, and sideways. A key relationship is with your manager, followed by the connections you make with your teammates.

In the case of your manager, it’s important to understand what’s expected. As far as team dynamics, it’s good to get a view of working style, intra-team roles, and how work flows among members. Write down questions before you officially start so that you can seek answers during your first few days. Another approach to consider is to do more listening than talking, at least for the first week or so. It is natural to want to show that you’re the right person for the role by sharing what you know and how you’ve done things in the past, but that could backfire. Listen, observe, get a handle on how things are done; even after you start sharing, do so strategically—less is often more in this situation.

Be an ally. While supporting your teammates and helping each person succeed is part of building productive relationships, this skill extends beyond your team. Figure out who in the organization at large has an impact or influence on your role—the HR manager, for example, or the procurement lead—and forge alliances with them. This is more than chatting with them over coffee. Follow their procedures, anticipate issues or potential challenges and alert them if needed, make sure you are doing your part to make their jobs go smoothly. Be a good ally, and you will have allies if or when you need them.

Manage yourself. This skill is an extension of the first skill. Often work can be intense, full of deadlines and problems to solve, and it can be easy to lose perspective. Once in your role, you need to make sure that you are able to stay centered and make good judgments.

These transition skills will help you move smoothly ahead in your new role. And after you’ve fully transitioned, you may find that it is second nature to continue to use them.

At Riversand, we support people to grow through internal movements as an enabler to career progression. No wonder why we have long tenured workforce. Riversand is a certified Great Place to Work.

Interested in joining a strong global team and a Great Place to Work®? Visit our Careers page to get started.

About The Author – Saloni Sachdev

Saloni Sachdev is Riversand’s Vice President and Global Human Resources Head

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