We’re good at what we do, so we’ve been promoted. Now what? We obviously have the skills to do the job, but what do we need to do to manage others for this job? Either way, in all the excitement, it appears the guidebook on this new role was misplaced, and now it is time to get to work. It can be overwhelming, where do we even begin?
In reality, it is a new job, and expectations have changed. Sometimes we can feel caught in the middle. We have friends we used to vent with, and now we are one of the leads or managers, and we are the one now being vented ABOUT – what a change in just a short amount of time. How did we get here and where do we go from here? From our many hours of coaching, we have gleaned a few tips that can help ease the transition.
Welcome the Mindset Shift. We’ve been doing the job, so we know what’s needed. Now we need to switch our mindset from getting results as an individual contributor, to achieving results through others. It is a balance between letting others work (and avoiding micromanaging) and being supporting. It can be helpful to show others how to find the answers, which avoids us getting bogged down in providing the answers. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) did a study of successful new leaders that showed those who properly prepared and welcomed their new mindset enjoyed a 68% higher success rate. “In other words, if you don’t get it right from the start, chances are you won’t get it right at all.”
Lead by Example. Yes, it sounds trite and obvious, but we need to show our team not only that we can do it, but to set the standards of expectations. Walk the walk by setting a great example. ALL eyes are on us, some on our back with a target on it. Get to work on time, limit cell phone use, be the last to leave, don’t make excuses. What we do, others will do, so we need to ensure we’re setting the standards and abiding by them. No leader ever had great support with leading by the old adage of: “Do as I say, not as I do.” We’ll gain more respect and support by leading by example.
Reality Check. We’re now the boss, not one of the gang. A leader, not a ‘friend.’ The rules have changed. It can be hard to avoid biases and favoritism, especially if we’re still ‘hanging out’ with our team members. Our new role is to be inclusive, treat every employee equally and with respect, even with people we were not social with prior to our promotion. This includes keeping confidences – part of our new role. Accepting that invitation to Happy Hour is still okay, but duck out after one quick drink. We want to build rapport with our team members, build trust and ensure open communication, but not to the point that we’re going beyond this. We don’t want to put ourselves in the position where we lose trust or don’t have an equal playing field. We’ll need to keep it professional. It’s the price we have to pay to be an effective leader of teams.
It’s About them, not Us. Pay attention to our team’s needs – our role has changed! Two-way communication is the basis for a healthy team – for maintaining both the leaders’ and the employees’ support. Let’s not allow it to be gripe sessions, since now our teammates are expecting us to do something about it! We need to continuously seek feedback from the team. A great way to do this is to ask those four magic words: “What do you think?” Part of being inclusive is to seek the opinion and thoughts of others. Often times, others have fantastic solutions. Plan frequent pulse checks and feedback loops to ensure we’re continuing to be inclusive and a healthy team. We’ll need to also assess our team as a leader and consider “how can I help them?” Who are the aces on our team and are they in the right places?
Embrace it! – We’ve earned it. Now, we get to go develop our team and promote them too! Wise/WISE leaders actively try to work themselves out of a job – the more we can train our team members up to our job or other management positions, the more likely we’ll be able to move up into a new position. Let’s pay it forward and help develop the next generation of managers and leaders.
Congratulations on your new position! Someone saw something in you that made you a leader, and you earned this move!