Have you heard something similar from a young person you know who was just thrust into the role of manager for the first time? I would suspect you have. I hear this a lot since a big focus in my business is on helping emerging leaders and first-time managers to develop the skills and capabilities of strong managers and leaders. I understand the panic they feel, and I want to help. This article will be the first in a series of blog articles designed to help a new manager quickly develop a management mindset and to build the skills they’ll need to thrive as a manager and leader.
The World Has Changed – The skills and attributes that made you a strong individual contributor as a sales person or an engineer are one thing. The skills and competencies you need to become a strong manager and leader are COMPLETELY different. You cannot work enough hours as a manager to ensure your success. It’s not about your individual contribution anymore; you will be measured on your ability to create a culture of delivering consistent results by working through a high-performance team of others. There will be no participation ribbons in this new world, as you are no longer being paid for effort or hard work. In this new world, you are being paid to build a team and a culture that will enable perpetual predictable success. The world has indeed changed for you, and you will need to adjust to this new reality and develop and master some new strategies and tactics to become a skilled manager.
Exercise Patience, But Move Forward – It will be tempting now that you’re in charge, to storm through the organization, fixing everything in sight. Don’t do it! You need to avoid shocking the systems of every living thing in the organization. First, understand the culture of the team you’ve inherited and spend some time embracing what’s good about the current state. Then, when you’ve signaled your support to the existing team about what’s working, and what’s good for the current team, you can slowly and steadily begin to move forward in making positive changes. If you move too fast, you risk shocking the team and engendering resistance. If you move too slowly, you risk missing opportunities to grow and change. Find a healthy balance and begin to make positive changes without introducing shock.
Engage Your Team In The Effort – You’ll quickly find that management cannot be done without great communication. Begin your communication effort on the first day, and open up and tell your new teammates about yourself, your values, your management and leadership style. Make sure that you communicate your belief in treating your colleagues like adults, and that respect is a cornerstone of any successful team. Let the team know that you want to create an environment of trust, where people can contribute their ideas and their best work, and be supported and rewarded for their results and positive contributions. Your team will be watching you, and you need to show them that you care by being fair, and by being a great listener. Unless you consistently demonstrate that you care about your people, and are willing to invest in their development and success, they will not be wiling to trust you. Unless your team trusts you, they cannot truly follow your lead. Be a leader they can trust.
We’re going to do a series of blog articles about how to approach a first-time management assignment, and our next article will zero in on how a new manager can emerge as a leader by becoming a very skilled communicator. These three concepts are a place to start for a new manager, and I hope you’ve found them helpful. Keep checking our website and LinkedIn posts for more great best practices for new managers and let us know what you think about the articles, we’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions!
Michael Beach is a sought after executive development coach who specializes in helping small and medium sized companies to develop their next generation of leaders and build a high-performance culture in their businesses. Michael is an award-winning member of the Professional Business Coaches Alliance, North America’s premier business coaching organization. If you’d like to receive a free copy of Michael’s white paper on how to ensure that your first management assignment turns into a rousing success, send Michael an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free also to subscribe to the Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting channel on YouTube, where Michael does an outstanding series of content-rich videos on how to seize the opportunity as an Emerging Leader! I’ve Just Been Promoted To Manager, and I Don’t Know What To Do… Help!