"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority."
- Ken Blanchard, management guru
When you go from being managed to calling the shots, it takes a while to realize that people will be looking towards you for guidance, and you, into the mirror for the same. Holding the fort as a new manager comes with its fair share of challenges - from earning the respect of your team, to forging short and long-term goals. So fair warning! You are about to enter a metaphorical pressure cooker, where a myriad of tumultuous emotions will beseech you every couple of hours through your first few weeks.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. You must realize that after all the scrambles, mess-ups and a fair share of shed and unshed tears, you’d be exonerated from the initial failing. So use the opportunity to craft your path to become the ultimate manager.
To this end, here are a few tips you should be focusing on, before you take your first shaky step into office as a new manager.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”- Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State
No one knows it all. When we’re younger and taught to seek help from our teachers, what we didn’t realize is that half the time they were winging it, because they didn’t always have the answers. Now, does that make their experience more relatable and familiar, than it did back then. Similarly, as a new manager, you are in your right to not have everything figured and learn your way as you go.
According to inspirational writer Victor Lipman, who’s book ‘The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World’ was an instant success with first-time managers, “The central relationship between a manager and his employees plays a critical role in a company’s success.”
“The art of communication is the language of leadership,” –James Humes, author
The old saying that ‘communication is key’, may be overused today but the idea holds true, especially when it comes to managing a team for the first time. All of your decisions need to be communicated to your team and concerned personnel. While as manager, you do hold the key to taking executive decisions, you still need to run it by your team and involve them, as eventually it is with their compliance that you carry out orders for the ascribed workload.
According to a Gallup survey, about 70% of an employee's motivation is influenced by his or her manager. And that motivation stems from engagement, which in turn comes from communication with the employees themselves.
“The Gods play no favourites.”- Charles Bukowski
Reflect upon Bukowski’s words – the fates sent upon people were universal and without any rank – they hold true for your managerial skills. As a manager, you should know that in your initial pledge to keep everyone happy, you may fall trap to an employee’s ruse of becoming your right-hand person. Do not entertain favouritism, even if an employee has no real agenda and is just helpful by nature.
Favouritism will only breed greater ego clashes among your employees and unproductive bitterness from those who don’t get to be ‘the boss’ favourite’.
“Individual commitment to a group effort: That is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”- Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame NFL coach
The first personal oath you need to take as a new manager, is that you are going to create and work towards the collective goal of your whole team and company. So, work out the details with your whole team and ensure that they not only incorporate it, but unitedly work towards those goals.
While you shouldn’t be playing favourites, you should definitely make it a point to boost your employees’ morale, especially when they deliver commendably on the work assigned. Nothing engages and retains employees better than praise and recognition from their superiors – well apart from salary hikes and promotions.
According to a survey conducted by AttaCoin, about 88 per cent of employees agree it’s important that employers reward employees for great work. A further 52% of employees agree that they would rather be recognized privately by their manager than publicly in front of their team. So, don’t hold back on dishing out praise towards an employee or your team, it will keep spirits high and productivity levels in check.