Moving into Management: The Skills New Managers Are Learning

February 18, 2019

See the skills new managers are learning the most.

Imagine you’ve just reached a major landmark in your career - you’ve been promoted from an individual contributor to a manager! This is a moment to celebrate, but it can also be a challenging transition. Research suggests that adjusting to a promotion can be a stressful life experience; however, it’s also the perfect time to learn.

So when new managers seek help, what types of skills are they looking to learn? We analyzed data from LinkedIn Learning to understand what courses this group is watching at higher rates than the average user. Of the 13,000 courses on our platform, which do first-time managers flock to when they’re starting their new role?

Two main insights emerged from our analysis: new managers are focused on thinking more strategically and learning to build stronger relationships.

Strategic Thinking is the Name of the Game

Once you become a manager, the type of work you do fundamentally changes.

No longer are you focused on just doing your particular tasks well. Instead, you’re empowering your team to flourish, prioritizing across competing projects, and setting long-term plans. In other words, your work goes from tactical to more strategic.

With this expanded scope, you need a new set of skills to succeed.

At Linkedin Learning, we see that the top two courses new managers in particular are watching are Transition From Manager to Leader and Critical Thinking, both of which teach how to be more strategic. In these courses, managers learn how to ask the right questions, break down complicated problems, and drive towards solutions. Their ultimate message: to be a true leader, a manager must learn to develop a clear, inspiring vision and rally her team around it.

Relationships Become Even More Important

Relationships are important for any job, but they become indispensable when you become a manager. A manager must build rapport with her team and respond to their needs with empathy, all while still maintaining authority and pushing each individual to grow.

That can be a tough balancing act. On top of that, there’s also the relationship dynamic with your own manager, who has high expectations of you in your new role. It’s no surprise, then, that Leading with Emotional Intelligence and Managing Your Manager are at the top of the list of courses that new managers are especially likely to take.

Having Difficult Conversations is another top course that fits within this category as well. Managers face many moments that call for tough conversations, such as addressing performance issues on the team. Developing the communication skills to navigate these tricky situations can make all the difference.

The Good News: New Managers, You’re Not Alone!

If you’re a new manager, you’re probably experiencing some stress right now. We feel you. Good news - you are not alone! These courses provide best practices that can help you through common challenges and teach you key skills around strategic thinking and relationships.

And aspiring managers, take note! These are great skills to proactively develop, in order to signal to your organization that you’re ready for the next big step – and prepare you if you are promoted.

Want to improve your leadership skills? Here are the courses new managers are watching on LinkedIn Learning: