You just got a promotion and are now faced with the task of managing a whole team (!!) for the first time. It’s an exciting opportunity but also a challenging one. If you’re feeling a little nervous, that’s understandable — but also know that you reached this point because of your hard work and skills. Follow the steps below to navigate your new responsibilities and become a great leader to your team.
1. Identify your management style.
Take some time to consider and identify what type of management style best suits your personality and work. Will you be authoritative? Affiliative? Democratic? Having the self-awareness to understand what management style is most effective and valuable for you and your team is an essential leadership skill to develop.
"The fact of the matter is, we’ve all got different ideas about what is the best management style and leadership style. And people all need a little variety in terms of how their managers work with them," Kelly Poulson writes. "Some of us work better under laissez-faire management while other subordinates can thrive under top-down leadership. For others of us, there are we may refuse to work iron grip and decisions of an autocratic leadership style, and instead expect two-way communication and participative management that collaborates with team members about shared goals."
2. Incorporate the habits of successful managers.
Look to the habits of other successful managers as a sort of template. These habits have enabled other manager to thrive in their roles, and following their lead can make you a successful manager, too.
According to Ellie Nieves, "If you want to be a successful manager, it's not going to happen by accident. You must work at it. Being promoted to a management role does not guarantee success. Successful managers are effective and productive. They can lead, motivate, and inspire others to achieve their best. To become a successful manager, you must adopt key habits that will allow you to accomplish your goals and bring out the best in others."
3. Learn the art of effective communication and giving feedback.
As a manager, you should get used to the idea that you’ll be regularly giving others feedback. Learning how best to provide constructive criticism now will serve you well in the long run.
It may be tempting to only give positive feedback out of fear that you'll offend your employee or make her not like you, but this will actually harm rather than help her. "The worst alternative is only giving good feedback, omitting anything even slightly negative out of fear of the person’s reaction," Natalie Fisher writes. "This is actually doing them a huge disservice. Sometimes it can be hard to hear that you’re doing something wrong, but it can also help the person get so far in their lives that they’ll look back and thank you for it."
Similarly, effective communication is crucial to any manager’s success. Study up on how best to articulate your wants, needs, and frustrations to your team. And don’t forget to tell people what they’re doing well, too, and to thank them for their hard work!
4. Develop your emotional intelligence.
What’s your emotional intelligence like? It’s time to develop this skill even further if you’re going to correctly assess people’s strengths and effectively manage a team filled with varying (and sometimes opposing) personality types.
"Emotional intelligence is the skill to identify and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. These skills include a series of five key tenets: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills," writes Jennifer Mayer. "Being able to read and respond to your coworkers' emotional intelligence can greatly improve both communication and productivity. If you have control and stability over your own emotions, that will greatly aid communication and resolution, especially during conflict. "
Workplace conflict happens, and if egos clash and tensions rise, how will you handle it? A manager can make all the difference in whether a workplace feels positive and safe, or totally toxic.
5. Assist your employees with their own career development.
Don’t earn the reputation of being a competitive boss; talk more than you listen, don’t feel (or at least act on) the need to provide input on every last detail, and show your team that you trust them to make great decisions even when you’re not around to monitor them.
In addition to entrusting your employees with responsibilities, you should make an effort to help them in their own careers. A good manager takes a vested interest in the success and development of her employees, rather than feeling threatened by their accomplishments. After all, your team's achievements reflect well on you, too.
6. Learn how to self-manage
Part of managing others requires being able to manage your own time well first. If you procrastinate, then your whole team will fall behind.
Use time management strategies to pace yourself, and delegate responsibilities to your team when it's appropropriate and necessary to do so. Just make sure you're not putting your own responsibilities on someone else's plate.
7. Allow people to make mistakes (within reason).
The impact of your team will be stagnant or limited at best if you don’t enable employees to take risks and try new things.
"If you want your team to grow fast, it’s not going to happen if they’re playing it safe," writes Maureen Berkner Boyt. "If you want your employees to take risks you must create a totally different paradigm for fear and failure. You need your team to understand that high performance involves being comfortable with taking risks and failing into success; that failure is a part of the growth and success equation. Nobody gets it right every, single time unless they are doing exactly the same things in exactly the same ways that they always have. That’s a pattern of stagnation. It’s very predictable, and will get you exactly nowhere."