Five tips to help new leaders stay in front
Hard work and tangible results will help new managers lead from the front and win the support of the team.
- It's important for new managers to make a strong impact in those vital first weeks.
- Differentiate your skills and interests and communicate these new ideas to your team early.
- Don't try to be popular, your results and management style will reward you with the respect you deserve.
By Bronwyn Xavier.
Q: I have just been placed in my first management role. What are some helpful tips for first-time managers?
A: David Cawley, Regional Director of Hays, says if you have recently accepted your first managerial role, you’ll know that directing and motivating a team on top of your own responsibilities can seem daunting at first. Being a leader allows little time for you to ease into your new role.
These tips will help you make a strong impact in those vital first weeks.
1. Give yourself a head start
Whether you’ve changed organisations or have been promoted, it pays to be prepared. Think about your approach, objectives and how you’ll make your presence count well before you arrive.
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Understand what will be required of you and research the individuals you’ll be responsible for.
2. Don’t compare yourself to your predecessor
Leading a team is enough of a challenge. Doing so while comparing yourself to your predecessor makes the process twice as hard. Differentiate yourself from your predecessor early on, but be careful not to alienate colleagues with sweeping, or unnecessary, changes.
Never outwardly reject your predecessor’s approach or belittle what they achieved; they might still have close allies within your team. Instead, focus on your own goals and adding your own value.
3. Focus on success first, popularity second
It can be tempting to make yourself popular with your new team by gaining their approval on every decision you make. However, this is time-consuming and there’s no guarantee your team will appreciate you for it.
Think about your approach, objectives and how you’ll make your presence count well before you arrive.
They might even bemoan your lack of strong leadership. Instead, concentrate your energy on accomplishing set objectives.
After all, it’s by confidently completing your objectives that you’ll receive the respect and admiration of your team.
4. Speak often, but listen more
Communication is a leader’s most powerful tool. Never stop communicating with your team. Openly share your objectives and paint the bigger picture for the team.
This will provide context, encourage loyalty and build a strong team spirit.
Sit with individual team members to ensure they understand their role in achieving these objectives. Remember, though, that communication is both talking and listening.
Listen to your team. It will help you understand how best to manage each individual, learn set processes you may not be familiar with and give team members a sense that their voice is heard.
Avoid presumptions about who the high performers are and assume that everyone is great until proven otherwise. A change in leadership can be a welcome fresh start for employees who have previously felt under-valued.
5. Lead from the front
Hard work and tangible results will win the support of your team. Show them how capable you are and they will not only respect you more, but will follow your example.
This involves not just ticking tasks off the to-do list, but also doing the small things well. Be social in order to create a positive and productive atmosphere.
Be on time to encourage punctuality. Dress well to inspire proper presentation.Never stop proving and pushing yourself. Relish the challenges. As soon as you drop off, your team will too.
This article first appeared in the June/July 2017 issue of Acuity magazine.