Moving up the ladder and finally making it in into a management position can be exciting and a reward for a job well done over the years. The promotion also comes with new responsibilities, expectations, and the opportunity to hone a new skill set. You have knowledge of the content matter and the mechanics of the job, but now you have to support, lead, and guide a team of people. This new position can be a fun new challenge to tackle, especially with the right mindset.
Make time for relationship building. The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” has earned its place as a cliché for a reason. Building relationships with the team to supervise, the other managers at your level and your bosses are key to the work you’re doing. One of your primary roles as a manager will be “connector,” making sure that you’re translating tasks effectively across the change of command and within your team. Knowing all of the players well will help you communicate more efficiently.
It will be quite important to know the team you manage so that you can help them work together and achieve their goals. Understanding your employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and even aspirations will help you understand how to help them work to their full potential. When you invest in your employees, you are also building trust. Employees are more likely to trust their managers if they feel like you are invested in their success. Your staff’s success and your success are intertwined.
Know when to manage and when to lead. Leading and managing are distinct roles that managers have to engage with seamlessly. Managing involved ensuring compliance and measuring progress toward goals and objectives. This is an important role because it makes sure processes are being followed in an appropriate way. The train is moving forward and not getting into any trouble along the way. But only engaging in these tasks would be insufficient. Leading is another important role, which involves supporting your staff. Motivating your employees, providing opportunities for growth, and providing vision are just as important and following procedures and protocols. It may take a while to get comfortable with when to “lead” and when to “manage” but being attentive to the differences can help with a smooth transition into a management role.
Create short-term and long-term goals. In the first months of assuming the management role, it will be important to identify “quick wins” or deliverables that you move forward on in the short-term, and long-term objectives. The goals should involve both personal/professional goals and targets that are specific to company expectations. Not only is modeling the use of goals and objectives important for your employees to see, but it’s also necessary for your own professional growth.
Appreciate the importance of listening. Good leaders are also good listeners. As a manager, you are now receiving and holding a large amount of information. The ability to listen, reflect, and provide thoughtful responses is more important as a member of the management team.
Be a student. No matter how far up the ladder you climb, you are always learning. Lifelong learning is a skill that the most successful people value. Being new to a role lends itself to a great deal of learning, but the important thing is to not lose your curiosity as time moves on. Interacting with others forces you to learn more about yourself and there are always areas for improvement related to your trade or skill. If you’re truly doing it right, the longer you’re in leadership, the more you’ll understand how much you don’t know.
Emerging as a new manager presents a lot of opportunities and challenges to face head-on. Understand the role, your strengths and your weaknesses as it relates to the position and envisioning a path forward lays the groundwork for a successful tenure.