You’ve always loved your work and you're good at it; so good you've been promoted! This sounds great in theory but how does it work in reality?
To go from being 'one of the team' to now 'managing the team' takes self-awareness and respect; awareness that you cannot step into a role and expect everyone to follow your directions – you still have to earn their trust and respect. Follow these easy steps to help you transition more efficiently into an effective leadership role:
- Filter the feedback – Feedback is invaluable if you need to make informed decisions. There will be plenty of comments aimed at you, and feedback packaged with emotion. Make sure you filter opinion from fact; emotion from reality. Stay objective and you will hear the relevant, important feedback, which will ensure you make informed, relevant decisions.
- Listen – if you want an engaged team who feel their input is valued, learn the art of listening. When staff feel valued they will support your decisions.
- Lead by example – if you’re always late don’t expect your staff to be on time. Remember, as a manager you are constantly being watched and your behaviours mimicked.
- Communicate consistently – never underestimate the amount of communication required to keep your team informed and to make them feel valued. Communicating constantly may only take a 5 minute team meeting each morning – work out what communication platforms work best for your team.
- ‘Why’ – provide the bigger picture when you need something done – always explain ‘why’ the task is important, the knock-on effects, and how this task will assist the company. When we understand ‘why’ we become further engaged in the project.
- Assess change – don’t rush into change! A common pitfall is “putting your own individual stamp” on a new position. Taking time to observe and take notes; and then only implementing change as and if change is required shows respect for the previous manager and an ability to assess facts accordingly. Remember to communicate ‘why’; how did you come to this decision, ask for feedback and implement a timeline for everyone to reassess if the change was successful – again shows you value your team’s input. Ultimately, it will be your decision, but feedback ensures minimal team resistance to change.
- Stop ‘doing’ and start ‘managing’ – the hardest management skill to learn. You have been promoted because you were good at ‘doing’, however as a managing you are being asked to manage your team of ‘doers’. The team relies on your effective management of the team to ensure all daily functions run efficiently. If you are busy doing your team will end up attempting to manage themselves – the result will be inefficiencies, gaps in processes, mistakes, conflict, and more . . .
- Celebrate your successes! – no matter how small they may be! Get your team together and share what went well each week; recognise great work ethics and reward desired workplace behaviours.
Enjoy your new role!