7 Rapid-Fire Tips to Get Promoted from Individual Contributor to People Manager

Try these non-obvious strategies for experienced ICs who feel more than ready for a people management role.

Bryce York
2 min readNov 23, 2022


If you’re an experienced product manager, engineer, or something else and you’re feeling stuck as an individual contributor — I’m going to cover 7 rapid-fire strategies to go from individual contributor to strategic leader and people manager.

But what do I know? I’m Bryce York, a product leader based in New York, with over a decade of experience, including building and selling three of my own startups.

  1. Optics. Nobody will put you up or support your promotion if you’re not being seen or heard. Turn the camera on. Turn the mic on. Share your opinion, and ask questions. Show curiosity.
  2. Strategy over tactics. Get out of the weeds and start thinking about the bigger picture.
  3. Spreadsheets over decks. It’s not only about written and verbal communication anymore. When you’re talking to execs, you need to talk their language, and that includes talking numbers.
  4. Think longer term. Get out of the quarter-to-quarter thinking and start thinking in years.
  5. Avoid binary thinking. It’s not A or B. Think about it as a spectrum, and you could land anywhere. This won’t be intuitive for everyone, and it wasn’t for me, but it’s an important evolution as you progress in your career.
  6. Take on high-stakes projects. Especially the ones that nobody else wants. By doing things with high visibility and getting the job done, you’re really going to demonstrate your capability as a product person.
  7. Drop some rubber balls. You’re gonna have to drop some balls. Otherwise, you’re going to be one of those people saying, “I don’t have time to be strategic.” Well, you’re the one that’s got to make that time. No one’s going to do it for you!

This was originally a video; check it out → https://youtu.be/PnS2YkNdz9M



Bryce York

Startup Product Leader • Product (management) geek sharing hard-learned lessons from 10+ yrs in early-stage & growth-stage startups