5 Things New Leaders Need To Know
What do new leaders need to know? You've been recognized as an outstanding Individual Contributor. This recognition has earned you a new position as a Manager, congratulations. Now it's time to learn a new set of skills. Your expertise, knowledge, and ability to get the job done is what got you promoted. But it's not enough to be a successful leader. Some say this is most the difficult transition of a professional's career.
You may be familiar with the quote, "what got you here won't get you there"? To be a successful leader you need to know what "there" is for you and you need to know what will get you there. Adopting the following practices will help you make the transition to a leader. A leader who can make 2 - 3 times greater contribution than an Individual Contributor. Know your why
Why are you in the business you're in? You need to know the answer to this question. This is what get's you up in the morning. You also need to know why you chose to become a leader.
Knowing your "why" provides you with direction and purpose. According to Simon Sinek it, "provides a filter through which you can make decisions, every day, to act with purpose." Without this, you run the risk of lacking confidence. You will be indecisive and change direction as the wind blows. Lack of direction is confusing and can lead to disengaged employees. Something that no leader wants. Know your who
Who do you want to be as a leader? Great leaders develop attributes and behaviors that help them connect with others. They inspire their teams to want to do a great job. Think of it this way. As an individual contributor, you knew exactly what you needed to do to get the job done. What knowledge and skills you needed. You probably sought out leadership coaching to help you get better. You know how to get the job done. Now you need to know what attributes and behaviors you want to develop to inspire others to get the job done.
This requires a shift in Mindset. You are no longer responsible for doing the work. You are now responsible for developing a team that is empowered to do the work. You've probably been measuring your success based on how much work you got done. Knowing what success looks like is essential. However, success as a leader is not a measure of how much gets done by you. Success as a leader is measured by the contribution your team makes to the company goals.
Do you find yourself thinking, "its easier to do things myself?" If so, you are still thinking as an Individual Contributor. A leader focuses on how they can develop their people so they can perform to their potential. To become the leader you want to make a list of the top 5 attributes or behaviors you want to embrace. Be Leaderly.com has a list of 100 Leadership Qualities to help you. Practice living these attributes every day. Know your team
I'm sure you've heard it said, "your people are your most valuable resource." They need to feel valuable, this is critical to your success. According to John Maxwell, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". Don't make the mistake of barking out orders and expecting others to jump on it. They need to know you first. You need to gain their trust. To gain their trust take time to meet with each team member.
- Find out who they are?
- What they do outside of work?
- Ask them why they chose the job?
- What do they like about the job?
- What would they do differently if they could?
Show compassion for any struggles they reveal. Let them know you appreciate their input. Share your why and ask for their ideas and suggestions. Continue building relationships by checking in with each employee from time to time. Know your responsibilities
As a new leader, your responsibilities have changed. As I mentioned earlier, you are no longer responsible for doing the work. You are now responsible for leading a team that gets the work done. You will have leadership tasks that you are responsible for. E.g. payroll, performance management, quality oversight, etc.. You need to know your responsibilities. You also need to know what the responsibilities of the team are and who is going to take them on.
There are 2 key things you must do. You must delegate and you must create time for you to focus on your management tasks. If you don't you run the risk of overwhelm and stress due to excessive workload.
Delegation takes thought and patience. It is one of the most empowering things you can do. Recognize others can make a valuable contribution. This is key to building a strong team, efficient team. There will be times when someone is struggling. You might be tempted to relieve them of the responsibility or to provide a solution. This is a mistake. Instead, empower them by asking for their ideas on how to resolve the issue. By doing this you are letting them know you value their opinion and trust their ability. This approach goes a long way to building engagement and accountability. It also establishes you as an empowering leader.
Being available to your team is important. But do not mistake the mistake of being available all hours. Decide when your door will be open and when you need uninterrupted time. Communicate this to your employees. This will allow you to give them your undivided attention when they need you. You will also be able to have undivided attention to work on your projects.
Know your triggers
It's important to know what actions or behaviors of others are likely to upset you. When you know this you can establish clear boundaries and expectations. This provides a safe framework for everyone to work within.
Leaders need to know what their top 5 values are. For example, do you value punctuality? If you do and have an employee who is habitually late you are likely to get triggered. Take the time to identify what you value and communicate this to the team. Set clear expectations. E.g. Let employees know you expect everyone to arrive on time. This can feel like you're stating the obvious. Yet depending on other people's experiences it might not be obvious to them. This is one of the kindest things you can do, for the team and yourself.
Following the advice above will help any leader establish a strong foundation. Without this foundation, things can feel chaotic and stressful. All leaders, no matter what their type of business, face similar challenges. Would you like to learn more about how you can become an outstanding leader? Visit www.bellscoaching.com. and download the white paper, "The One Thing That Changes Everything".