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How to smoothly transition from a colleague to a manager

May 3, 2015, 3:00 PM UTC

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?” is by Nir Polak, CEO and co-founder of Exabeam.

Navigating the transition from worker bee to decision maker can be tricky. Often times you’re ready for the next step in your career, but apprehensive about the additional pressure more responsibilities will bring. Relationships and priorities will change. It’s almost never easy, and there will be plenty of bumps and bruises. Below are some tips I’ve picked up along the way that will help ease the transition:

Be a mentor
Over the years, I’ve developed great relationships with brilliant and talented colleagues, some of whom have continued to work with me at Exabeam. I’ve come to realize that everyone has limitations (myself included) and strengths. Find ways to balance all of these qualities within your team. A true leader will have the ability to spark growth in the people around them, which will foster a loyal and tight knit community.

Push your boundaries
Staying within your comfort zone is easy and tempting, but ultimately very limiting. This may sound like counter-intuitive advice–shouldn’t I be telling you to stick with what you’re good at? Not necessarily. Embracing uncertainty will push you to ask the tough questions that others don’t have the courage to. A little bit of fear will keep you on your toes and ensure you keep learning.

Accept failure
Failure is not something you should fear and is an inevitable part of taking risks. If you’re patient and pay attention, each of those failures will teach you something. Often these are lessons you wouldn’t have learned otherwise, and although they can be painful, they will ultimately make you a better leader.

Embrace responsibility
You need to have a desire for ownership. And handling more responsibilities can become a complicated process, so be sure to have a realistic understanding of its double-edged sword. With responsibility comes the power to do things your way, as well as the burden to fix things when there are mistakes.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?

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