Advice from peers: How to succeed in your first management position

We spoke to global development professionals in mid-level and senior level positions to hear their advice for surviving and succeeding your first management position. Photo by: WOCinTech Chat / CC BY

Your first experience in a management position can be both exciting and daunting as you learn on the job what it means to oversee people, programs and budgets. This is particularly the case in the global development sector, where resource-strapped organizations may not have a training budget or program in place to guide early-career managers.

“It's a huge learning curve,” says Maya El Hage, an operations manager for a global development organization in Lebanon who has been in her role just over a year. “You develop skills personally and professionally, and you are exposed to a lot of different people, different ideas, different stakeholders, different organizations.”

About the author

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.