By: Helios on August 25th, 2014

Print/Save as PDF

Taking on a New Role? How to Best Transition Your Responsibilities

Career Tips

Great news - you’ve been promoted to a new role! Now what? You might be thinking, "How will I be able to get all the work done that I am now responsible for and how will I take on this new role?"

Hold it right there!  The real question should be, “How do I successfully settle into my new role and leave the old one behind?”

The easy answer is delegation.  But, how do you delegate successfully?

While you are learning new responsibilities, you must create a transition plan that allows you the flexibility to learn new skills and remove the old tasks from your plate.

Taking on a New Role? How to Transition Your Responsibilities

"How do you let go and move on?” 

First, you need to recognize and internalize the following points:

  • Focus on the future: in order for you to be successful in your new role, you have to let go.
  • View the transition as an opportunity for development for the individual(s) who will take on your previous responsibilities.
  • Recognize there will be a period of time that you are straddling the fence as you wrap up old projects and responsibilities, and have new ones on your plate, but this period does not last forever because you will...
  • Put a plan in place and follow it!

Next, follow these 3 steps for a successful transition

Plan Your Transition Plan

Start by reviewing your old job description.  Add any tasks that you have been doing that are not reflected on the formal description, and remove any that no longer exist. 

(As a side note, this is a great time to update the job description.) 

Once you have a list of responsibilities and tasks, it’s now time to create the Transition Plan.

Create Your Transition Plan

Create a transition plan with deadlines to help you move through the transition.  Indicate which items are immediate or will require training.  For every item on the list, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Are there tasks that only I know how to do?”
    • “Why am I the only person who can do these tasks?”
    • “How can I begin handling the responsibilities of my new role if I don’t let go of the “old” tasks?”
    • “What’s left?”

After answering these questions, review your list of tasks/responsibilities to identify the immediate responsibilities to let go, i.e. the lowest hanging fruit. Identify the items that have established written procedures to follow.  Also, identify the items that require minimal decision making beyond what the person has already been accustomed to doing.

Which items will require training someone else to perform?  These are tasks that will require a more significant amount of your time in which to train another individual to complete.

Implement your Transition Plan
  • Lowest hanging fruit – Set time aside immediately to transition these tasks.  Allow time to sit with the person who will be taking over the responsibilities.
  • Training needs – This will most likely require more of your time, but don’t let that deter you. Keep your focus on the big picture!  It’s necessary to spend the time now to train a new person so that you can spend your time in the future on what is expected of you in your new role.  And remember, this is a development opportunity.
  • You are the only one who should be doing the task – This may be the case for the immediate situation, but as the transition moves further along, and the next person becomes more fully engaged in the new responsibilities, continue to evaluate these.  This is where a coaching plan will help develop your employee in order to increase the knowledge and skills necessary to take on additional responsibilities in the future.  You’ll find that over time, it becomes more clear that you are not the only one capable of doing the task, the further removed you get from your old responsibilities.

Remember, while you may experience some added stress additionally trying to make this switch, it's only temporary. With this transition plan, you will be able to smoothly take your old responsibilities off your plate and get started on your next big thing in no time. Congratulations on your new role! You work hard and deserve it!