Becoming a manager is an exciting promotion that comes with a lot of new perks, as well as responsibilities. It can be intimidating for anyone, no matter how much experience they have, and leading a team of workers takes some level of trial and error before it starts to feel natural. On top of that, you're expected to deliver results consistently, help your team achieve specific goals, and help each individual person on your team to improve and deliver. Here are some tips for adjusting to your new role and leading effectively.
1. Become a Lifelong Learner
Hands down one of the best traits in any leader is their ability to be humble and learn from their own mistakes. If you're not someone who is naturally open-minded, it's time to work on that skill and become more accepting of new ideas and ways of being. When learning how to lead a team, it's a good idea to start by asking your subordinates for advice and suggestions. Not only will they feel that their ideas and expertise are valued, but they'll probably have better insight into what the team needs than an outsider would.
2. Set the Right Example
Another trait that all good leaders share is their ability to lead by example. Your team should never look at your actions and detect hypocrisy. The way you conduct yourself on the job or off it should reflect the values and processes you want in your team, whether you're leading negotiation training or just getting a cup of coffee from the break room. In addition, you should never expect your team to deliver a level of work or meet demands that you yourself are unable or unwilling to meet. You might not think it's a big deal to take a long lunch after telling your team that long lunches aren't permitted, but your team is watching you and expects a higher level of dedication and follow-through.
3. Give and Recieve Feedback
One of the best ways to build trust and rapport with your team members is by being an excellent listener and acting on valuable feedback, and then being able to give good feedback yourself. Your team should find you approachable and open to suggestions and critiques. Nobody should feel penalized for sharing an opinion - instead, they should always be thanked and whatever they said should be seriously considered. In addition, you should be regularly asking for opinions and critiques about various aspects of work-life.
Giving feedback isn't just about conducting performance reviews each year. Part of your job as a manager is to see and recognize improvements and achievements within your team. It should be a regular part of your life at work to praise both your team as a whole and to recognize individual team members for their achievements. Even just a "great job!" once in a while can go a long way towards making workers feel seen and appreciated.
4. Clarify the Bigger Picture
Your team members are honed in on very specific parts of whatever project you're working on and are unlikely to have a sense of perspective when it comes to the overall goal. That's how it should be, but your job is to keep the big picture in mind and help them to see it to maintain clarity and focus. When assigning new projects and establishing goals, it should be your mission to help them see how these tasks fit into a larger scheme. Your team will see how their individual contributions are going to directly impact a much bigger end goal.
5. Invest in Learning Opportunities
Lastly, don't underestimate the importance of helping your team to continue training and learning about the job. This includes both providing learning opportunities in the form of training courses and making sure their work environment is one where they feel safe trying new things and making mistakes. Being a manager is about more than just helping your company's bottom line - it's about creating relationships and being an advocate for your team.