How to succeed as a new leader
Posted: June 18, 2019 | Word Count: 631
Getting promoted into a leadership position or taking on a management role can be extremely exciting and anxiety-provoking. You want to do a great job and be as prepared as possible for the new position. The unfortunate truth is, many new leaders or first-time managers run into challenges almost immediately. That’s because in many cases, the things that made them successful in the past will not make them successful managers. To excel as a new manager, you need to adopt a new mindset and attitude, as well as communication and leadership skills.
Here are some of the things you can do to avoid mistakes and thrive in your new role.
Think like a leader
Chances are, you were selected for your new leadership position at least in part because you were so good at getting things done in your previous role. While you might feel increased pressure to continue and even exceed that performance now that you’re a manager, experts say you actually need to let go of that way of thinking.
Leading professional training and development company Dale Carnegie offers a training course specifically designed for new leaders. Experts who run the course say they often find that new leaders struggle to shift their mindset from being an individual contributor to a facilitator empowering others to do their best work. In short, you need to stop focusing on “doing” and start focusing on “leading.”
One of the best things you can do to position yourself for success is to constantly reflect on your responses to workplace situations. Ask yourself, “Am I responding like a team member or a leader?” This reflection can help you achieve a new level of self-awareness, which in turn will allow you to make better decisions and excel as a manager.
Focus on others
The success of any team leader or manager depends on the success of the team they oversee. Your team members should be your first consideration as you decide how to navigate your responsibilities, especially when it comes to implementing policies or strategies coming from the C-suite level. Think about all the ways you can provide effective feedback, coaching, support, guidance and motivation to help team members achieve their goals.
You also now play a critical role in driving and maintaining employee engagement. Research from Dale Carnegie shows that the manager-employee relationship is one of the most important factors in fostering an engaged workforce. To create that kind of team culture, you need to go beyond having a few positive interactions with team members. You need to make those interactions a daily habit, prioritizing your time to develop meaningful relationships with your team.
Hold yourself accountable
As a manager, you’re accountable for your team and the work they produce. It’s your job to ensure that they’re consistently meeting deadlines, hitting targets and completing projects. To do this, you need to set clear expectations for each team member and maintain that clarity even as things get messy during the natural course of business.
As much as you need to hold your team accountable, being a successful manager also means you need to hold yourself accountable as a leader. To do that, you really need to focus on your communication style, and make sure that you aren’t letting people off the hook or creating other barriers to accountability. This doesn’t mean you need to be a tyrant. It just means being clear and direct in your communication and understanding that you aren’t doing yourself or your team any favors by letting things slide. If you can adopt a leader’s mindset, constantly consider how your actions affect the team and remain firm in your commitment and expectations, you’ll be well on your way to being an effective new leader.