You've finally done it. After working hard for so many years, you are now the manager, leading a team of individuals and calling the shots. Your first appointment as a manager can be an interesting experience. However, your main focus should be ensuring that you do it exceptionally well.
As a manager, you will be responsible for setting the tone of the work environment. In this article, we look at some of the things that can help you become the best manager possible. Read on to find out more.
Learn to Adapt Quickly
The best way to ensure that your team stays motivated, creative, and innovative is to quickly learn to adapt your work style to theirs. You must understand that everyone you are leading has a different work style of their own. This means that each person will have different things that motivate and inspire them. There are also things that can hold them back and limit their productivity.
You can be lucky and get a team of people with a working style that's similar to yours, but that's rare. One of the main things you need to understand is that "different" doesn't translate to bad or wrong. Each person has their strengths and challenges, and your job is to amplify whatever makes them highly productive.
You should be able to quickly understand the work styles of your team members. The next step would be to adapt and meet them somewhere in the middle, or in other words, find a sweet spot. As a manager, it's up to you to find ways to make that happen since you are the one in power. Once you manage to strike a balance between how you work and how your team members work, your team will start performing at its highest level. Remember, your job is to make your team successful so that you can be successful.
As a manager, you are no longer just a doer, and your job is not to simply monitor and check things off a to-do list. You must quickly take on the role of a leader and coach. Your main focus should be to do whatever necessary to make others succeed, and the best way to do that is to start delegating responsibilities.
If you are not patient enough to identify your team members' strengths, you'll end up in the habit of thinking, "I'll just do it myself." This happens mostly with tasks that you have done so well multiple times in the past or with software that only you used to know how to use. However, you must resist the urge to do everything on your own. The more time you spend teaching your team members how things are done, the less time you waste in the future tackling certain tasks.
Also, delegation is a show of trust. Your employees will feel that you trust in their capability to get things done. That alone will have a serious positive impact on their morale. As a manager, you must keep in mind that you are, to a larger extent, responsible for your employees' engagement levels. It's up to you to provide them with adequate professional development opportunities to learn many new skills and become highly efficient. Remember: If your employees fail, so do you.
Learn How to Deal With Difficult Situations
A lot of time is spent per week dealing with conflicts in the workplace. As a manager, one way or the other, you will find yourself faced with the task of dealing with these tense situations. You must, therefore, be able to handle the difficult conversations that follow.
Ignoring such situations in the workplace in the hopes that they will go away on their own will not work. Therefore, even if confrontation makes you uncomfortable, you will need to find a way to handle things. Sometimes you might feel like you don't want to hurt a subordinate's feelings, but the more you let such issues stay unresolved, the worse they become. This is why you have to take some time to figure out how to deal with workplace conflict.
If any of your employees approach you with an issue, take time to listen and understand the problem they are facing. It is important for them to feel heard and understood. Also, understanding their perspective will help you come up with the best way to solve the issue. Together with them, you can find a proper way to handle things and move forward without grudges and divisions.
Acknowledge Changed Relationships
Being a manager can put you in an awkward position. This usually happens when you are promoted from within. Most of the people you used to hang out with and crack jokes with will become your subordinates. There is nothing more awkward than managing people who used to be your peers.
The best way to handle this situation would be to strike a balance between being a friend and a manager. This is difficult, but you have to find a way to do it. Some details are too confidential to share, and your relationship with your peer(s) can sometimes cloud your judgment. That's where you have to take a strong stand and proactively address any changes.
Your friend must understand that your work relationship has changed. You can say something like, "I know we are friends, but, as the manager, I need to earn the trust of the team and be fair to everyone." This will certainly not be an easy task, but it's a necessary one.
Focus on Building Trust
It's almost impossible to lead a team of people who don't trust you. Research indicates that when employees are led by someone they can trust, they will naturally put in extra effort to be happier in their roles. Therefore, you must dedicate some time to building trust.
An easy way to do that is to find time to sit with each one of your employees. Talk to them and find out what their professional goals are and how you can assist in helping them achieve the next milestone in their career. If there are any skills they want to learn, try and recommend some projects or courses that can help them learn. If you take time to show interest and invest in their future, they will feel valued, and you will gain their trust.
Another way to build trust would be to ensure that everything is transparent in the workplace. Whenever you make an important decision, speak to your employees openly about the impact and results of that decision on their work lives. It doesn't matter whether the impact is positive or negative; important information must be shared with everyone involved. You can also let them know what you are working on from time to time. If you cultivate that kind of open and honest communication, your subordinates will start trusting you.
Offer Timely Feedback
It's important to set time aside and give feedback. You can even do it on a daily or weekly basis. If anyone in your team needs feedback, don't wait for months before you give it to them. It won't help anyone to hear feedback long after a project has passed. Also, some situations need to be addressed right away to improve the team's productivity.
Whenever you give someone feedback, you will enable them to grow professionally, which will benefit everyone, including you.
Ask For Feedback
Apart from giving feedback, you must also ask for feedback. Find out what your team members feel about your leadership style. It will help you learn and develop into a more effective manager. It's not only your employees who need to develop and grow. You must also take time to assess your strengths and weaknesses, so you can improve.
Hone Your Leadership Skills
Leadership and management are two different skill sets. Your promotion to the manager position is likely based on your problem-solving, organization, and delegation skills. However, that alone is not enough to become the best leader. There are other aspects of yourself that you need to work on.
For instance, leaders often display a high degree of emotional intelligence and excellent interpersonal skills. These attributes allow them to effectively address the needs of their subordinates, and this empowers everyone to work toward a common goal.
Dedicate a lot of time to ensuring that you have the necessary skills and attributes to not only be a good manager but a good leader too. Also, don't forget to take stock and hold yourself accountable.