Goodbye Defined Tasks & To-Do Lists
One of the first changes that come with a leadership position is the change from task comprised daily work to the more amorphous responsibility of managing people. Your daily work responsibilities will no longer be a to-do list of project tasks. In your first manager position, your goals will be to oversee projects, provide oversight, motivate your team, and provide coaching. It will be up to you to turn those goals into actionable tasks for your team.
Determine How to Motivate Your Team
As a manager you are your team’s coach, motivator, and disciplinarian. A good manager finds ways to create desire in their team members to go above and beyond the minimum work requirements. You need to spark enthusiasm in your reports to motivate them for excellence. Monetary rewards like bonuses are a good incentive, but not always available to use as a motivator. You will need to get creative with your extrinsic rewards and furthermore, learn to cultivate your team members’ intrinsic rewards.
One way to build your team’s desire for intrinsic rewards is by helping your team members develop their personal career goals. Supporting the individual goals of your team members can inspire them to go above and beyond in their current position and deliver for you and the rest of the team.
Set the Example for Your Team
Your team learns what is and what is not acceptable by your example. This includes something as simple as the way you dress. More than as an individual contributor, you will need to define and be intentional with your attitude, communication, and work quality. If you foster negativity, poor communication, and poor work quality your team will take notice and often change behaviors to meet those expectations.
Being part of leadership means many eyes looking to you for direction and as an example of success in your organization. If you often leave early, are prone to gossip, or take shortcuts at work others will see that as the appropriate expectation for success. It is imperative to take care of your presence and how to comport yourself.
Improve Your Communication Style
As a manager one of your personal goals should be developing your communication style. How can you provide open, constant communication with crystal clarity? Figuring out your communication style can help you convey points effectively to your team while reducing the chances of over-communication and feelings of micromanagement.
3 Points of Effective Manager Communication
- What needs to be done
- Why it needs to be done
- How to accomplish it
Your team will need absolute clarity on what needs to be done. You can help motivate them with the why. Inform your team of what is at stake and the impact the project’s success or failure will have on the team, client, and organization. You also want to provide critical considerations and guide poles for completing the project.
For managing projects you will also need to create opportunities for formal communication about ongoing projects. This includes check-ins, opportunities to exchange feedback, and chances to provide recognition to your team and individuals for their accomplishments.
Learn to Make the Tough Calls
Earlier in your career it’s likely you leaned on a manager to make the tough calls and bear their responsibility. One of the key functions of a leadership position is your responsibility to make those same tough decisions and absorb any repercussions. You can use hypothetical situations to build your ability to quickly absorb the information of a situation and postulate outcomes of your decision. A leadership development program like EWF International’s Emerging Leaders program can help you develop critical leadership skills and the tools for finding career success as your transition into a manager or executive role.
Prepare for Your First Manager Position with Emerging Leaders
The program is a dynamic combination of lecture, discussion, assessments, and workshops that goes beyond traditional management training and includes strategies to overcome challenges and leverage strengths for women in business.
Emerging Leaders emphasizes developing business acumen, change management, managing difficult situations or people, and crafting and managing your personal brand to chart your professional path as you rise through the ranks.
Prepare to be Accountable for Your Team
You’re the team leader as a manager. A skill to develop is how to critically review your performance as a manager. Where do you and your team excel as a unit, what do you do well? Why? You should also consider where you fall short and the reasoning for your team’s underperformance.
When you look at a flagging or failed project, determine why contributors were unable to complete tasks. Was there a lack of training or knowledge? Did you miss or ignore signs the project was going astray? Determine if there was a lack of motivation or a critical resource that was unavailable to your team. It is possible that your team lacked a necessary tool or manageable timeline to complete the project as intended.
In addition to dealing with performance failure, it’s important to review positive performance and what you and your team did right. Often your greatest reward as a manager is showing off your team’s success. As you learn about your team and its members consider how they would best like to be acknowledged and appreciated. Bonuses, parties, public acknowledgement, and private acknowledgement are just a few types of rewards that your individual team members would love to receive.
Other Ways to Prepare for Your First Manager Position
In addition to preparing yourself for your new position, consider seeking out a mentorship. A mentor with leadership experience can not only help prepare you for your new position, but also provide you with feedback and constructive criticism once you are in the new role. You can learn more about finding a mentor with 10 Question to Ask to Find a Good Mentor.
If you became a manager it’s likely you want to continue your career’s leadership trajectory. EWF International’s Emerging Leaders program helps early- and mid-career women prepare for leadership roles beyond an entry manager position. If you are interested in gaining a promotion, a raise, or seeking a new opportunity, Emerging Leaders can help you advance your career.