If you’ve recently gained a new management role for the first time either via a promotion or job search at another company, transitioning from ‘one of the team’ to management level can be a daunting process.
Of course, you’ll want to start your new position filled with confidence and positivity, but many employees making a move into leadership can struggle to undertake every facet of their new role at first without a little help.
Here’s some expert advice on how to manage your management career move in five simple steps:
Change your mindset
As a member of the team, you’ve had years of experience in contributing to the overall business goals and objective. Although this is always a useful skill to have, as a manager or leader you’ll need to completely overhaul your mindset and begin to see your role as more as an orchestrator in addition to being a contributor to this success.
Your job is no longer just about doing the best you possibly can do with the tasks assigned to you as part of your role, it’s now your responsibility to support, mentor and motivate those around you to do their best work too.
Nurturing a positive culture of coaching and support so that your team can rely and trust you to help them achieve their goals is a cornerstone of good leadership. It’s essential that you remember that you’re now the go-to guy or gal that the team depends on to help them overcome any challenges they might face.
You’ll also need to start practicing the art of delegation and recognizing that you can’t do everything yourself. This will mean putting your trust in your team members to carry out the work to their best abilities. Further, you’ll need to identify any skills gaps that are holding them back, and coach them so that they can be successful in their roles.
Provide balanced feedback
As a new manager, you’ll need to be able to provide your team with balanced, regular feedback on their performance. This not only means that you’ll need to be diplomatic and fair in your approach to delivering this, but you’ll also need to keep an eye on their performance, attitude and general motivation at work in order to provide a balanced outlook.
Instead of seeing feedback as a negative thing that only needs to happen when someone does something wrong, see it as a positive coaching tool. Keep in mind that feedback is designed to help someone grow. For example, if a coach gives an athlete some pointers to help her to improve her jump shot, it’s not a bad thing. Instead, it’s designed to make her even better. By giving feedback with care, (and making sure not to overlook opportunities to provide positive feedback), people will be better able to “hear” it and use it constructively.
If you do this on a regular basis, you can help your team overcome challenges, support them in their professional development and stop certain issues festering until they become much bigger problems that can cause a hindrance to productivity later on down the line.
The best teams have strong working relationships with their managers based on loyalty and trust. These relationships don’t just appear as soon as you land the job. Instead they take time to nurture. Therefore, don’t focus all of your attention on getting tasks done, as you could be missing out on the opportunity to forge these strong bonds with your team.
Remember, you don’t catch flies with vinegar, so be kind, supportive and willing to listen to your team, and in return, you’ll gain their trust and loyalty.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team isn’t enough to be a great leader; you need to recognize them in yourself too!
Being aware of your own individual talents and using them intentionally to benefit yourself, your team and the business as a whole is key to excellent management.
If you’re a people-person, then use your interpersonal skills to inspire your team. If you’re good at getting things done, then use your strong planning and organizing skills to help set efficient processes in your department. If you’re creative, help your team to solve problems in new ways.
Occasionally, it can be easy to lose sight of our own strengths and weaknesses as we are too busy managing our team to focus on our self-awareness. Because of this, we’ve created a leadership style quiz to help you gain this awareness and get you thinking about the areas where you excel and how you can use these strengths to benefit your entire department.
Give it a try here and discover where your strengths lie.
Have a leadership vision
Fire fighting or just tackling challenges that come up day to day, will leave you in a position of simply reacting to the demands of your environment. Stay in this mode all the time, and you’ll limit your success as a leader. Instead, take time to think strategically about your vision for your area.
Having a leadership vision can help you to plan for the future, anticipate and overcome challenges, and be intentional about developing a culture for your department. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to get some inspiration on the type of leader you aspire to be.
Knowing how you want people to feel around you, the type of values you want to promote in your department and how people perceive you as a manager is an excellent place to start, so why not spend your spare time on a little leadership reading or read our recent article on the consummate leader here?
After all, it’s so much easier to create a plan of action when you have a final goal in mind. Therefore, make sure that you read as much as possible and talk to others who have also transitioned from doer to leader. That way, you can learn from their journey and use it to point you in the right direction as you settle in to your new management role.
For some other advice that will help you to perform at your peak as a leader, consider taking my Management Essentials Course. Learn more about it here.