As 2018 beckons, there’s a cadre of folks set to have extraordinary impact on the careers of many others. These people? The new managers of 2018. Turns out, that after the promotion celebrations are over, I’ve come to hear how relatively few first time managers still get ANY structured support, training or advice about how to make this important career turn. Meeting a senior VP at a major multinational just before Christmas, I was struck by his comment when discussing the need for new manager support:
“my CEO will tell me that of course these new managers know what to do, we wouldn’t have promoted them if they didn’t”
But why will they?! Too often the very behaviours rewarded for an individual contributor role are completely different from those of a successful manager. And I’ve seen enough light bulb moments over the years when new managers are shown the significant impact their behaviour (good or bad) has on others to know this is a big step for many. So late last year, I turned to a group of experts in the field and we discussed what first time manager behaviours bring the biggest impact – and here’s what they said:
Show the Way: Set a clear and compelling vision and outline clear team goals which are your goals. Make sure every person has responsibilities, tasks and a timeline. When you manage a team, your job is not to do their job or to tell them how to do it, it is to set the conditions and clear obstacles, so they can do the best possible version of they need to do.
Be a Better Version of Yourself: Learn to self-reflect, show tremendous humility and willingness to learn. Work hard on your self-awareness. Recognise that you can make mistakes, don’t try to hide them, but share so everyone can learn and move on. Work hard on active listening and building trust.
Be Inspiring: Set the example for preferred behaviours, be a role model and show others the way, Coach and develop your team. Understand how powerful your honesty, integrity and authenticity are in driving performance.
A Team is a Collection of Important Individuals: Put your employees at the heart of organization. Talk with your team, not at them. Spend time with each team member, be curious, get to know what motivates each one – remember they are individuals. Observe behaviours without bias. Start with describing what you see rather than judging. Remember diversity enriches and often shows different ways forward.
Know someone starting a manager role for the first time? Please send them this article – it’ll be a positive jolt of energy for them and their team.