September 15, 2020

The Successor

I have been designing for a number of years (since 2007?!), and, after recently being promoted to Principal Product Designer at Salesforce, an opportunity to transition into management arose. As a result, I began reading to learn about the subject. The first book I read is The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhou. She describes four possible ways one begins managing, and one rang true.

The successor transition is like the apprentice’s but with a twist: because your manager is leaving, you’re taking on supporting the entire team yourself, not just a portion of it. Though most successors have prior management experience, it’s still a significant increase in responsibility and you may feel you have big shoes to fill. While the advantages of this transition are similar to those of the apprentice (you have a sense of what works and what doesn’t, and you’re able to ramp up quickly because you come in with context, as described earlier), the differences are also striking.

I’m both anxious and excited by this opportunity. It feels like a natural transition because of my desire to teach what I have learned from my variety of experiences. Watching teammates improve their craft and presentation skills is incredibly rewarding.

Book Career