Just got promoted? Congratulations! You’re a manager, all bright, shiny and new. You may even still have that “new car” smell.
So now that you’re a manager, what happens next? Most folks make the leap from staff to management to advance their careers, get the fancy title on their business card and up their pay grade. Duh — seems obvious, right?
But not everyone who climbs the corporate ladder actually wants to or knows how to manage people. They may be keen to manage a project, a facility or a department and hope that the staff won’t be too demanding or distracting. But being a successful manager is about leadership, plain and simple. Leaders need to engage, inform and inspire their teams.
So here’s 5 easy ways to show up as manager who leads:
1) Say hello to your team at the start of the day. This may seem obvious too, but how many of us have had a boss who walks right past us in the morning, barely acknowledging our existence? They then hole up in their office for most of the day, not connecting with the team. Your team needs your daily acknowledgement and the opportunity to get to know you. Give them five minutes in the morning.
2) Lead by example. How you show up each day — your mood, your work ethic, and your attitude about your organization — is all being observed (and often emulated) by your team. If you want them to be a collaborative, strategic, respectful, productive team, you have to show up with those traits every day. As a manager, that’s non-negotiable.
3) Share information. Some new (and old) managers mistakenly believe that withholding company information from their team reinforces their power and elite status — that old school “knowledge is power” idea. Wrong. It makes you a bad leader. If your team doesn’t understand company issues, opportunities and objectives, how can they deliver on them? The more informed employees are, the more they engage and trust you. And the more the company’s vision is understood and shared by everyone, the more everyone works together to achieve it.
4) Ask your team to help you be a better manager. It turns out that managers don’t instantly know everything about everything the second they get the job. So ask your team this question, “What’s one thing I could do that would help me be a better manager for you?” Show that you value your team’s input and suggestions to help you improve and they’ll trust your direction when it comes to helping them improve, too.
5) Make time to engage with each team member. Your manager title doesn’t mean that you “manage” people — that’s called administration. Your title should mean that you lead people and that’s more about inspiration. So take the time to engage, inform and inspire each of your team members. Answer their questions thoughtfully, coach them through their challenges and celebrate their efforts. “But I’m too busy” is not an excuse. Take the time to engage and inspire your team and the time you’ve invested will pay dividends in productivity, team relationships and achieving results.
Practice these five easy habits and your leadership skills will thrive, making you ready for that next rung on the ladder when the time is right.
A consultant and speaker on public, workplace and leadership engagement, Maureen “Mo” Douglas is an empowering change agent who practices radically positive engagement to achieve radically positive results. Click here for Mo’s FREE e-Guide to Better Public Engagement. Follow her on Twitter.