When you enter a new position in your company, it is important to put your best foot forward and make the right impression. Whether you are entering your first leadership position or enjoying a well-deserved leadership promotion, these five leadership tips will help you get started right in your new position. See how to increase your team’s proficiency and refine your leadership style.
Leadership Tip #1 Engage in Regular Feedback
Compared to an individual contributor position, leadership positions often lack an easy way to gather feedback through peer interactions. Additionally, direct reports can be hesitant in offering unsolicited feedback to their superiors. To build trust with your team, ask for regular feedback and then act on the feedback so your direct reports can see their feedback is being taken seriously and is improving the company.
As a leader, it is your responsibility not only to receive feedback, but also to give it. Engaging in regular feedback with your reports will provide your team the information and guidance necessary for them to continue functioning effectively and efficiently. When providing feedback to an individual, use a mixture of constructive criticism and positive feedback. Your team members need to know where they need to improve, but you do not want them to feel that receiving feedback is always a negative interaction. Appreciating and vocalizing your appreciation for what a team member does well goes a long way to keeping your team’s morale elevated.
Leadership Tip #2 Talk Less, Listen More
As a leader, there is a feeling and genuine need for you to take the reins and drive your team. However, doing so all of the time can create a tunnel of one-way communication, propagating a “do as I say” environment. Long-term, this can atrophy your team’s critical thinking and strategic decision-making skills, eroding trust in your team’s capabilities and your ability to delegate important tasks.
Instead, build your team’s capabilities by providing opportunities for your team, engaging in active listening, and leveraging their expertise. Step back and position yourself as a resource for your team rather than simply the authority, and create an environment where your areas of expertise can match and support the expertise of your team.
Leadership Tip #3 Intentionally Share Success
We all want praise and to enjoy the feeling of a job well done being recognized by others. This praise often comes to you from senior leadership and customers, and is not shared directly with your team. Often, teams can work in an isolated bubble, and the only way they hear how great a job they are doing is if you tell them. You do not want to be the type of leader that takes credit and gets rewarded for others’ work. This can lead to a raw relationship between you and your team.
Instead, intentionally share success. Give credit where credit is due. Doing so will show senior leadership you appreciate and emphasize your team’s performance. Being a good leader is about creating and managing an effective, productive team. Employees work harder and provide better results when they feel their contributions make a difference and are appreciated. As a leader, it is important to keep track of your accomplishments and be able to elucidate how you add value to the organization while sharing the success with your team.
Leadership Tip #4 Stay Up-to-Date
Staying up-to-date is crucial to being an effective leader. You need to have your finger on the pulse of your organization. Read your company’s press releases, newsletters, and internal communication. Create direct lines of communication with different people in different parts of your company and ask questions, learn the current affairs of different areas of your organization. By staying literate on the status of your company, you will be better able to make strategic decisions to further the organization’s goals and initiatives.
Another leadership tip is staying current with your industry and competitors. See what is going on outside the bounds of your company. Are there pending legal or regulation changes that could impact your business? Did you know one of your competitors introduced a new offering that taps unrealized marketshare? Being up-to-date on what is happening in your industry can help your plan for future success and learn from your competitor’s successes and failures.
In addition to your company and your industry, it is important for leaders to stay up-to-date on their team members. Creating a personal connection with your team and developing a continual, genuine interest in their lives outside of work builds camaraderie and morale that can be measured in employee satisfaction and talent retention. As a cornerstone of Dale Carnegie’s seminal, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” developing a genuine interest in others extends to senior leaders, business partners, and clients.
Leadership Tip #5 Join a High Quality Professional Organization
As mentioned earlier, leaders often find themselves in positions with fewer internal peers or none. Joining a high quality professional organization can help you gain necessary peer-level insight, leadership development training, even career coaching. EWF International offers women rising through the ranks support and resources on their career journey including early-career leadership development through the Emerging Leaders Program and personalized executivecoaching. And for more seasoned leaders, EWF’s Peer Advisory Forums for Women Executives help women sharpen their critical thinking and strategic decision-making skills in an authentic, confidential environment – so they can make even greater impact.
More Leadership Tips from EWF International
Following these five leadership tips will help you start down the path of being an effective, influential leader in your new role. For new leaders, see this EWF article for more information on How to Prepare for Your First Manager Position. Alternatively, Contact Us to find our what EWF International program is right for you.