So, you’ve been promoted to a managerial position for the first time, your name badge is squeaky-clean and everything is bright and new.
Well, that’s the image when you start a new position, isn’t it. Truth is, things don’t always appear as rosy as you’d like them to be. So here are my tips to make an impression as quickly and as early as possible in the new role:
1) Be absolutely clear on what your role is and what it isn’t. This is paramount, especially if you’ve been promoted from within the company. You might feel that you still want to be involved in the old role that you had, and you might be tempted because you are highly-proficient at it. Don’t just rely on your job description to tell you what to do. Get it clear from your boss exactly what the expectations are and how you will be measured.
2) Take responsibility for learning everything you can about being a manager. Don’t expect the company to send you on endless training courses and seminars to get you up to speed with 21st century management techniques. Seek out books, articles, websites, CDs and DVDs that will give you knowledge and ideas about the style of management you need to adopt today and in the future. Don’t rely on other managers to tell you how it is…learn yourself by proactively searching for it.
3) Set your priorities early on. Decide what you will pay attention to most, whether it’s the technical aspects of the role or how your new team need to be communicated with or how to run meetings. Be aware that people will look to you for an example of how things should be done, so ensure you set your priorities early on.
4) Find out what managerial style is most effective for your team. Some team members will be testing you out to see what they can achieve with you. Others may try to get more one-to-one time. Adjust your style accordingly so that you understand how each team member ticks.
5) Balance your managerial responsibilities with your leadership requirements. We manage tasks but we lead people. People don’t want to be managed, though they want to be inspired and motivated so they can achieve and grow. Create the environment so that people can look to you for inspiration and ideas.
6) Don’t be a ‘new broom’ before you’ve determined what is already successful. Some new managers throw everything out and start again, trying to make a personal impression on the company. Instead, learn from what has worked, get your team’s opinions on what needs changing and get them on your side before attempting any changes.
7) Set standards for feedback and feedforward. Tell people exactly how you are going to feed information back to them, so they understand what to expect. If you hide behind memo-heaven, or communicate with everyone only via email, you are in danger of alienating everyone. Be aware of the quality, amount and style of communication that everyone requires from you. Also, practice something called feedforward. This means identifying what results you want from people before it happens, so they understand what their responsibilities are and how it’s going to be measured. They then have the chance to measure their own success at the project before they present it to you. This gives them more opportunities to grow and become accountable for their own work.
Practice these 7 ways when you take your first baby steps as a new manager and you should see your learning curve straighten out in front of you as you make great impressions early on.
Originally published: 7 March, 2011
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