Congrats! You’ve been promoted and now you’re the boss! How thrilling! But at the same time bloody daunting…
There is a lot to learn. Ask any new manager or senior executive to recall how they felt after their big promotion, and you’ll probably hear tales of the steep learning curve they faced.
Of course, you’ll be preparing for your first day. Working on your big plans (whether it’s an internal promotion or a new venture), saying to yourself, “this is my moment.”
No matter how much you prepare, things don’t always go according to plan. A common reflection of first-time managers is about the people they work with and how they themselves handle situations. As a manager you can’t successfully nurture and develop a strong foundation in leadership without knowing yourself, your impact on others, and ultimately on business performance.
We’ve compiled a list of top learnings for you to think about for your new role.
You need to make sure you are all on the same page. Sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many different priorities a team can have, especially if it’s a newly created management function. Yikes. What do you do next?
There is a theory which says when you are sick of saying something, people are just beginning to hear it. You cannot communicate a strategy once and assume everyone is on board.
It is important that you communicate clearly what you’re planning to do, what you’re doing now and what you have accomplished to date. No one else is going to do that for you.
Lead through influence
When trying to make things run smoothly and deliver on product and revenue objectives, there may be occasions where you might challenge organisational processes and structures. Even though this might be outside of your pay scale and department.
You need to lead through influence across departments and colleagues, who might have applied for your role. This requires emotional tenacity as you work to navigate the landscape and drive participation and performance across multiple teams. This is fiendishly challenging.
It’s also important to note that taking on multiple objectives will take time to yield results. Especially if those objectives are competing with each other.
Be the change you want to see
The saying ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ can be seen in action in every company and industry. Think about what would be more successful; a strategy implemented with one team that clearly understands the greater vision and their contribution towards it, and another team that doesn’t.
Be part of a positive culture and actively seek opportunities to endorse it.
Here are some key competencies we’ve observed that underpin a strong leadership foundation.
Most good managers have sound product knowledge or technical skills, the ability to manage relationships and the motivation to succeed. But exceptional leaders are also self-aware.
Self-awareness helps you to identify thinking, beliefs and behaviours you need to change to improve your leadership.
Resilience is the coping mechanism you must learn to help you manage stress. Whatever the cause of your stress, your task is to work out your personal strategies to foster the resilience which will help you through tough times.
A resilient leader can role model best practise in the workplace and support others to develop their resilience. This will also promote a healthier, happier and more productive work environment.
Having the confidence to manage tough conversations and conflict is an essential leadership skill. Your approach can make or break relationships and determine decisions and their outcomes.
While this might be a lot to take in, good leadership starts with knowing yourself and building on that. Keep an eye out for coaching sessions and courses that have evidence-based research to back up what they say.