I have several great clients who are newly minted managers and leaders, and we’re working to develop their management and leadership skills and experience. Being a new manager is frustrating for many, because you cannot just drive on over to Target and pick up some management or leadership experience in the Office department. (Wouldn’t that be awesome if you could? Note to Target: if you can find a way to sell more time, or to sell more experience, you’re going to be busy!)
I thought it might be helpful to provide my new manager clients, and anybody similarly situated across the globe, for that matter, with a brief primer on what to focus on during your first 12 months as a new manager. So, here goes:
1. Create an environment where your team will want to do their best work. Build mutual trust, eliminate fear, reward innovation, challenge your team to have positive conflict to solve problems, reward your team for excellence, and teach them to quickly learn from mistakes and fix them NOW! Create a culture of respect and high performance.
2. Build a team worthy of the term “Dynasty.” We’ve all seen dynasties in sports, like the Yankees, Celtics, Steelers, and Canadiens. Those teams became dynasties that dominated their sports for decades by building teams with talent, and encouraging all members of the team to pursue team goals ahead of individual achievement. You must do the same by hiring people who are talented enough to excel in the job you’re hiring them for, and the next two jobs after that. Train your teammates to be able to perform at a very high level, and motivate them by encouraging them on the best behaviors that are consistent with your organization’s values. Teams have to learn to win as a team. Leave no stone unturned in preparing the team to win.
3. Encourage your team to help you to work for a cause. In my experience, people want to be challenged to become their best, and they want to work toward more than just a living. When you define a mission and a vision for what the team can become and accomplish, and help them visualize the great success that winning for the cause will deliver, you will be amazed by how dedicated they will become in making it happen. When your team understands “why” it’s so important to do a great job and help the team win, they will carry you to victory.
4. Hold your team accountable for Results. Without results, there is little reason to persist in business. Fairly holding everyone on the team accountable to the same standards will ensure that all remain engaged and challenged to do their best work every day. If you have a track record of recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance, people will trust in the fairness of your leadership. If you demonstrate a willingness to address poor performance with professionalism, every member of the team will be motivated to work as a part of the team and trust that all teammates are rowing in the same direction with the same commitment and effort. That maximizes team performance!
5. Be a Leader, set an example, and view yourself as a coach, not just as a boss. If you’ve decided to be a successful leader, you will need to provide relevant training that ensures performance and success. You’ll also need to drive your team to continue to develop skills and experience that will drive future success in their careers. You’ll need to occasionally confront struggling colleagues to inspire them to improve their performance, and finally, you’ll need to mentor and coach employees to prepare them to be their best selves. Don’t use your authority to manage, use your skill as a teacher and a motivator to lead!
Focus on these 5 management and leadership objectives for your first year as a manager, and you’ll quickly ascend to leader status and begin to earn a loyal following from your team, and also from the person who gave you this management position! Enjoy the journey!