Short on time? Scroll down for our TOP FIVE TIPS on how to transition into leading others successfully.
Now what? That’s the question you may be asking yourself if you’ve just been promoted into your first leadership or management role.
Maybe you feel at a complete loss in your new role, especially when it comes to managing former colleagues who now report to you. Or the first employee performance review you conducted didn’t go well at all. Perhaps your talk with a team member about a workplace conflict went off the rails, and you’re pretty sure you lost a friend along the way.
Whether you’re brand new to leadership, or you’ve been at it a while, if you’re struggling, you’re not alone.
When we ask our senior leadership clients to reflect back on their early experience in management, even the most accomplished tell us that the transition into leading others was really tough. They were capable and talented team players, but they just weren’t prepared for their new roles. And often there was no one to guide them.
A radical shift
Before being promoted into management, most successful individuals focus on what we call self-leadership – growing their own skills and efficacy so they excel at their individual jobs. And that makes sense.
But now, as a new manager, you have to think about leading others, and that requires a radical shift in perspective.
In your new role, your job includes motivating others to perform, delegating effectively, dealing with conflict, giving performance feedback, tackling complex problems and more – all while delivering results.
Some of the toughest challenges for new leaders center around workplace relationships and navigating difficult conversations, like talking about performance issues with employees who you consider friends.
Lack of support is a problem
Unfortunately, upper management rarely provides resources and support to new managers and leaders.
In fact, according to surveys, most managers and leaders receive no leadership training until they are fully 10 years into the job. The results can be dismal. According to Gallup, one of every two employees has left a job to get away from a manager. What’s more, only 18% of managers display a “high level of talent” for managing others; another 20% shows just a “basic talent,”
That’s a glaring leadership gap.
The fact is, most of us are not born leaders. We need to develop the skills and self-awareness that are the foundation of effective leadership, and we need guidance along the way.
Top 5 tips for new leaders and managers
Here are our top five tips for navigating the transition into leading others successfully:
- Get support. Ask your employer to provide coaching, mentoring or training. If support is not forthcoming, take the initiative. Seek out a mentor or coach on your own. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone.
- Focus on building strong workplace relationships. Create trust by recognizing team members’ contributions and be transparent about your own shortcomings.
- Give positive feedback to team members frequently and in a way that encourages them to build on their strengths.
- Be willing to tackle tough conversations, including conflicts. Focus on creating an environment that allows disagreement, as productive conflict is key both to collaboration and innovation.
- Learn to delegate. Your new job has big demands. Don’t even think of trying to do everything yourself.
Make yourself indispensable
Businesses everywhere are struggling to attract and retain staff. Capable, caring managers who focus on developing and leading others are key to an organization’s ability to hire and keep good staff.
As a manager, you have an opportunity to prove your worth and make yourself indispensable to your organization by developing the skills and mindset to lead others successfully. Do this well, and you pave the way for your own continued advancement.
The good news is that leadership skills can be learned. In fact, even if you have just a basic talent for management, you can learn to perform at a high level as a manager if you receive coaching and support.
Are you ready to excel as a people leader? Ask your employer to enroll you in our Certified Leader Coach online training and certification program. Or support your own success by enrolling yourself! If you don’t want to go it alone, The Workplace Coach has the leadership development tools and support you need to succeed. Contact The Workplace Coach today!