Becoming a manager requires an entirely new set of skills in order to be successful. Executive Business Coach, Penny Holburn, says good managers are able to build trust, foster cooperation, inspire and motivate a team.
When you are transitioning into management, Holburn suggests focusing on the following:
Build relationships: Don’t stay isolated in your office. Get out and meet people. Ensure that you have an open line of communication with your direct reports, new boss, clients and suppliers. Find out who all your stakeholders are and organise meetings with them to introduce yourself and find out about them and their needs.
Get yourself a mentor: As a first-time manager, you are going to experience many things you have never been through before. Find a good mentor who can be a sounding board and offer assistance and support.
Understand the business you are operating in: Talk to the team working for you. Get hold of strategy documents and goals. Find out what projects are currently underway and what projects are pending. Work towards building a strong commitment to achieving common goals among your team.
Holburn advises avoiding making these common mistakes:
Continuing to work on tasks instead of managing the team
As an employee, you have tasks assigned to you but as a manager, you need to manage the department and people. Your job is about getting people to do the work, not doing all the work yourself.
Some managers make the mistake of trying to keep up with the details of each subordinates work. You just can’t, especially if you are managing a big team, it will turn you into a micromanager.
Trying to prove that you know it all
It’s not your job as a manager to know it all. It is your role to bring together people who can get the job done. You don’t have to be the expert, you need to know how to get the experts together working so they deliver.
Promising too much
New managers are eager to impress and often make promises they cannot keep. Don’t fall into this trap.
Trying to change everything right away
First, understand what is going on before you walk in and turn the business upside down. Don’t assume that everything that was done before was wrong. If you ridicule they way things were done previously, you will make enemies.
Not going for some early wins
You want to get a good understanding of what is going on in the team, but don’t sit back too long before anything happens. Identify wins and get them in place. It is good for your confidence and your reputation.
Not delivering feedback
Whether it’s positive or negative, team members appreciate being kept in the loop. You will have to manage poor and non-performance, so if you don’t know how to deal with conflict or confront, then learn to. You also need to ensure that you give praise where it is due. Don’t take all the credit.
Being too friendly or not friendly enough
You are not at work to make friends with everyone. You are there to lead the team. Be nice, but be firm. Also don’t feel the need to let people know who is in charge. They want direction and guidance, not a reminder that you are the boss.